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Advocating and Communicating with the School, When to Ask for Help?

As parents, we all want our children to be happy, healthy, and successful, but what happens when you see your child struggling in the school setting ? What if you aren’t sure why? Are the academics too hard? Are there social concerns? Regardless of the reason, you look for answers and do whatever you need to do to help your child. 

What are some signs that my child might be struggling? 

● Changes in mood 

  • Cranky or short with family members 

● Withdrawn 

  • Lack of interest in hobbies or extracurricular activities 

● School avoidance 

  • Difficulty getting ready for school 
  • Uncooperative 
  • Frequently reporting feeling sick or tired 

● Making excuses for poor grades 

What if I can’t help? Or if what I am doing is not helping? 

Parents may not be able to support their children on their own, and will need to reach out to school professionals who are trained to help in these situations. 

● Teachers 

● Guidance Counselors 

● School Psychologists 

● Administrators 

Will my child be upset if I reach out to school? 

Depending on your child’s age, you may worry that you are overstepping boundaries by reaching out to school staff for support. However, if you are worried, it is important that you speak up to get all the support you need. Teachers and school staff have the same goal as you, to help your child to thrive both academically and socially. 

What should I discuss with the school? 

You can request to meet with school staff to discuss concerns. It is important to be prepared, come with a list of current concerns, how long they have been present, and any other important information such as life changes or stressors. 

If there are social concerns, be as detailed as possible to ensure that the school has all relevant and necessary information so that they can investigate and address the situation as needed. 

If there are academic concerns, there are many supports that schools can put into place to better support your child. 

These supports may include: 

● Action Plan

● 504 Plan 

● Child Study Team Evaluation 

● Individualized Education Plan (IEP) 

Please refer to our guide on 504 Plans vs. IEPs 

Additional Takeaways: 

Continue to provide your child with love and support, especially during a difficult time. Provide positive praise and encouragement to let them know that you are proud of them and remember to be patient.