School problems, being a broad term, hold in itself a wide range of features and symptoms caused by a number of causes and triggering factors.
CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS:
- Prenatal exposure to alcohol: a study shows that MRI brain revealed deviations in the development of the vermis as the most sensitive morphological indicator of the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure. The findings correlated with particular cognitive deficits in children3.
- Children with impaired intellectual function, having low IQ (eg chromosomal anomaly or syndrome) or IQ within borderline range (slow learners). Gifted children with IQ above average may also score average or below because they are distracted easily and
- Medical conditions associated with learning disabilities include children with chromosomal anomalies, neurofibromatosis and Tourette’s syndrome. Iron deficiency anemia also causes learning disability.
- Children with weak eyesight or hearing impairment of some sort face difficulty in reading
- Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder suffer inability to concentrate which results in incomplete work and assignments, messy handwriting, hyperactivity and impulsivity. They also face problems of keeping up the friendly relationship with peers.
- Family breakdown (eg divorce) provokes separation anxieties, which often produce school phobia and the child refuses to leave home. The psychological turmoil affects the child’s cognitive abilities and learning capabilities which leads to poor performance in school.
- Boarding School Syndrome: cluster of learned behaviors and emotional states that may follow growing up in boarding school, which can lead to serious psychological distress
- Lead poisoning can cause behavioral problems and learning difficulties in children.
- Illness within family: may cause psychological distress to the child.
- Parental substance abuse
- Sexual abuse and assault
- Poverty of the family
- Very low birth weight: We conclude that very low birth weight infants are at risk of having school problems that are in part associated with hyperactive behavior2
TOURETTE SYNDROME AND LEARNING DISABILITY
TS patients have significant impairment in their ability to learn, to read, and to retain information. The requirement of a home teacher sometime during patient schooling is a special-but more severe-case. Such a requirement usually indicated that there were such severe problems in school that some home teaching was deemed necessary. The message usually is, “We cannot tolerate your child in our classroom, so we will send the teacher to you.”1. with poor retention cannot retain or remember what they have read. Parents make remarks such as, “His mind is like Teflon”, nothing sticks.” poor retention also interferes with the learning of academic subjects social skills, a circumstance that produces its own set of problems. The difficulties with retention can sometimes be improved with methylphenidate1.
HOW TO DEAL WITH A CHILD FACING ANY OF SUCH PROBLEMS?
Any child showing abnormal behavior and facing learning difficulties must be evaluated by specialists to find out the cause and then act upon accordingly.
Parents must be supportive towards the child, keep motivating and helping their child to perform well academically.
Children must be kept away from chaos and harsh environment at home which definitely poses psychological stress.
Teachers at school must show concern in a positive way towards such children and strive to address the problems to restore and enhance the child’s learning capabilities.
A Psychologist must be approached when in need.
Certain conditions require medicines to be used too.
Savin-Williams, Ritch C.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 62(2), Apr 1994, 261-269. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.62.2.261
Special Section: Mental Health of Lesbians and Gay Men.
5. Children With School Problems: A Physician’s Manual
By The Canadian Paediatric Society, Debra Andrews, William J. Mahoney