Lost in the System
After four months of frustration, waiting, calling and following up, a good friend of mine has decided not to have a home telephone installed after all. “Why did it take so long?” you ask? You see, through no fault of her own, her application forms got “lost in the system”… to quote the nice man who she last spoke with - 6 times! My friend’s experience was the inspiration for this month’s newsletter. I’d like to share some thoughts with you about children that are “lost in the system”. These are the children who have difficulty keeping pace with the class and learning and how we as parents and educators can help.
Children may experience learning difficulties for various reasons. Most are due to a lack of natural development as an infant, not enough exposure to play (click here to read our August newsletter on the importance of play), illness, birth complications and chemical imbalances. No matter the reason, the fact remains that a child that is not coping at school can easily become “lost in the system” without intervention. Research shows that children who do not receive the help they need to cope often create coping mechanisms or "splinter skills". Sadly though, these skills only help for a short period and create more stress in the long term. We are seeing more and more children needing therapy and teachers are trained to identify problems early, but it is important to refer the child to trained therapists for remediation. I’ve heard parents ask why teachers cannot be trained to deal with learning difficulties. Fair question. The reason is this: children with learning difficulties require intense intervention and focus from the teacher. With a ratio of 32:1 in public schools and 17:1 in private schools, the curriculum workload and class size leave little time for the intense intervention these youngsters need.
On the right path
The time from birth to age 3 is when optimal learning and natural growth processes take place. It is common knowledge that this is the time when a child’s first and critical development in all areas takes place. Remember, the amount of time that a child spends at home in the first few years of their life and beyond forms the basis of their initial education and gives educators the foundation to build upon in further educating your child. This means that the parent remains the primary educator in a child’s life; others simply build on the foundation you put in place.
Teamwork matters If your child needs some form of therapy, don’t shout the teacher down. Listen to what the teacher has to say and talk about it. The teacher has chosen a career created to help your child to be the very best they can be, and the educator cares about the well being and development of your child. Early intervention saves time in the long term! Giving your child the opportunity to overcome learning problems makes them feel worthy, empowered and confident. The lack of any interventions will break down a child’s confidence when they become aware of their limitations. Many children start to believe "I’m stupid", which can have an effect for the rest of their lives. Having to develop academically and work within social structures at school is a large part of a child’s life. Feeling lost in this world is devastating! These "lost" children, are, in fact are never really lost, but they may feel that they are. As parents, teachers and therapists it is our responsibility to identify learning problems and deal with them… quickly. Remember, we are a team and together we can empower your child! Yours in Parenting Success,
Annette & the Team