If your child is struggling in school: think, observe and ask questions


There are many reasons why a child struggles. It's important to find out the cause so you can find a solution.



It's important to look at more than just grades and academics.

All of these categories can affect your child's learning: 

  • Physical: vision, hearing or muscle weakness
  • Cognitive: how their brain works 
  • Learning style: some kids need to see pictures or move their bodies more, others need to hear the information
  • Emotional and Mental Health: stress, depression and other common issues

Here's what you can do to explore your child's challenges:

  1. Talk to your child's doctor. Ask them to check hearing and vision. These might be the problem. (See the next page to learn more.)
  2. Talk to your child. Ask about different subjects and skills. Ask what they find hard, and what they find easy. Which styles of teaching work best for them? Try to find out if there are any emotional or social issues that may affect them in school. 
  3. Look carefully at your child’s progress in school.  Read school reports carefully and talk to their teacher about your concerns.  Ask about these things:
    • Academic Work — Are their reading, writing, and math skills way behind? Are there certain kinds of tasks that they have the most trouble with?
    • Concentration and Focus — Do they have an unusually hard time focusing on their work?
  4. Look carefully at your child's experience outside of academics. Talk to teachers, family members and other adults who interact with your child. 
    • Social Skills — Do they avoid interactions with others, show overly aggressive behavior, or seem painfully anxious around people?
    • Physical Skills — Compared to their peers, do they have trouble doing things like holding a crayon, picking up small objects, or running around the playground?
    • Mood — Does your child seem unusually unhappy, anxious or frustrated?
    • Emotional Regulation - Does your child have a hard time controlling their anger or dealing with transitions?

If your child is struggling at school and having trouble with reading and writing (literacy):

Book_Pencil_and_Chalkboard_Icons.jpgSee this section in the menu: What can I do if my child is struggling with literacy? Louisiana has a special program to improve literacy teaching in all schools. They have a lot of ways to help students with literacy, and this section will help you learn what you can do.

In the next section, we'll tell you more about talking to your teacher and working with the school.