If your child is having trouble in school, there are ways to get help. From making small changes in the classroom to unlocking accommodations and special education services, we walk you through the steps of accessing care through your child’s school.
Talking to your child’s teacher is often the first step to figuring out how to help. Comparing notes with what the teacher is seeing in the classroom can give you both a better picture of what your child might be struggling with.
Teachers are also a good resource because they have experience teaching many kids your child’s age, so they may have ideas about strategies to try in the classroom or at home. When you talk to the teacher, be specific about what you are concerned about. Is your child having trouble keeping track of homework? Struggling to take notes? Distracted by the other kids? Not able to finish their homework? Describe what you’re seeing, then ask if they have any ideas about what might help.
Or, if you’ve found something that is working for your child at home, you could pass that on to the teacher for them to try. Children often benefit from having a consistent approach at home and at school.
What your child needs will depend on what they are struggling with, but common interventions are:
- Adjusting where the child sits, such as in the front of the classroom
- Maintaining homework logs that teachers and families check every day
- Taking small breaks between tasks
- Getting a copy of the teacher’s notes
- Getting progress reports from the teacher every few days on specific goals (like turning in homework or not calling out in class) that you pair with rewards or consequences at home (like more or less screen time)
You can also tell the school that you would like a “pre-referral intervention.” This is a meeting with your child’s teacher and the school psychologist to discuss different educational supports. A pre-referral intervention can be useful because it sets aside time to discuss your concerns in a more formal way. Getting the perspective of the school psychologist can also be helpful.
The school psychologist is trained in supporting kids academically, socially, emotionally and behaviorally. They play an important role in suggesting strategies for kids who need a little extra support or a different approach. But if your child is struggling with something like a learning disability or a mental health disorder, small interventions might not be enough. When kids aren’t getting the support they need, an evaluation is in order.
Return to Connect to Care for more information about getting kids help.