Supporting your child at school

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laurenrobinson_morneaushepell_socialmediaUnderstanding and overcoming the underlying challenges

School is hard. Being an independent, successful student in a classroom is a tall order for most children. Different challenges arise at each grade level as expectations and difficulty increase. Cognitive skills such as organization, time management and attention influence success. Reading ability, vocabulary, and understanding of language all become more important with advanced grade levels. WOAH, that’s a lot of clinical jargon I just threw at you. Now you are asking yourselves, “What do I do with that and how do I understand where my child is struggling?”

Meet Naomi

Let me introduce you to Naomi. Naomi is a bright and engaged girl. When she started grade 1, her teacher noticed that she had trouble copying off of the board, completing worksheets and was behind in reading. Naomi is very aware that she is having more trouble than her peers, which is starting to impact her participation in class. When I met Naomi she told me that she couldn’t read and only part of school she liked was recess.

Her speech-language assessment revealed that she had difficulty with letter-sound correspondences (P says “p”), blending sounds together (c-a-t =”cat”), and had difficulty repeating sentences and numbers, indicating challenges with short term memory. Her occupational therapy assessment revealed difficulty with letter formation, copying and visual scanning. From this information we created complimentary goals to work on letter formation and letter-sound correspondence, introduce strategies to help with visual tracking, scanning and memory, culminating to support reading and writing abilities.

Back to School

Let’s get back to school. At school there is a team that’s goal is to help your child succeed, access the curriculum and learn. This team is you, your child’s teacher, the principal, resource teachers, psychologists, speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists. Creating strong, positive relationships with your team at school helps create an environment for your child that is supportive and conducive to learning. Private therapists can also be a part of this team, informing the team on their assessment results, progress towards goals, strategies to use in the classroom and modify treatment goals to assist classroom challenges.

The accommodations and recommendations the team creates at school may be enough to engage your child in the classroom, but may not be enough to “catch up” or prepare them for the next challenge. Where we come in is when you need to know who to talk to, how to create this successful team, establishing these underlying skills and planning for future successes.

About the author: Lauren Robinson started working as a registered Speech-Language Pathologist in 2012. She earned a M.Sc. Communication Sciences and Disorders at Emerson College in Boston and is a certified member of the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Previous to completing her Masters degree, Lauren attended McGill University where she studied Cognitive Science.

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