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Thursday, 16 December 2010

Q & A: Bright Son Not Functioning In School

Written by  Toby Klein Greenwald

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Q & A: Bright Son Not Functioning In School

QDear WholeMom:

My 11-year-old son loves to read, work on the computer and paint, but he can't sit still in school. We've received five notes from his teachers this year and it's only December! We've had him tested. He has a high I.Q. and does not have A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder), so we know that he does not have a concentration problem and is not hyperactive.

He can walk into a test after he has studied the material and knows it cold, but he'll just sit and draw pictures on the test paper. He's just not motivated to do what he's supposed to do in school. Where do we go from here?

Pulling my Hair out in Philadelphia

ADear Pulling my Hair out in Philadelphia:

Obviously your son is not happy with his regular school program. His main interest appears to be reading (but maybe not the books they're reading in school), computers and art.

My first suggestion is, if you can afford it, to enroll him in after-school activities that cater to those interests, help him get around to different libraries (which are free) and encourage him to share his printed work and his artwork with his teachers and classmates. Maybe if his teachers see what he's doing it will give them some ideas about how to help him find his niche within the regular program.

I also suggest you try to find some time to do special things with him, like going to museums, science and computer exhibits. Throw in a visit to an ice cream store and make an afternoon of it. He needs to know that he's "okay", even though he's having a rough time in school.

Unfortunately, not all schools are into creating special programs for special kids, especially when the kid doesn't have a serious learning problem. Children like your son sometimes fall between the cracks. Ask for a meeting with his teachers (including computer and art teachers), the guidance counselor and the librarian. Maybe he can spend part of his school time working independently on projects that interest him and that use the skills or information that he needs in his regular schoolwork; maybe those teachers will be able to develop a good relationship with him so at least there can be some authority figures within in the school around whom he feels good.


Last modified on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 17:12
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Toby Klein Greenwald

Toby Klein Greenwald

Toby Klein Greenwald, Executive V.P. Creative Development, is a founding partner and the editor-in-chief of WholeFamily. Toby is an educator, journalist, photographer, scriptwriter, poet, playwright, lyricist, and theater director, including for populations that have experienced trauma or are at risk. She is a Playback Theater conductor and is the recipient of Israel's Ministry of Education's Egerest Award for Culture, for her work in educational and community theater. She has more than 30 years of teaching experience and has served on numerous educational think tanks. Her specialties include the creation of innovative educational programs, and teaching Creative Writing and Film to AD(H)D and LD high school students, and to senior citizens. Toby is married to Yaakov and they have six children, most of whom have made her a proud mother-in-law and grandmother.

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