|By becoming actively involved in your grandchild’s school, grandparents raising grandchildren can help their grandchild adjust to the new environment, get to know the teachers, and keep up to date with academic and emotional progress.|
Learning Disabilities Warning Signs
But, even with your ongoing involvement to help with the transition, you may be noticing some difficulties your grandchild is experiencing. Yes, it is difficult adjusting to a new home and school, leaving behind all that was familiar. But, after an adjustment period of at least 10 weeks or one marking period, are the learning difficulties still there? Were grades low in the previous school? Are they low in the new school, also? Is your grandchild easily frustrated and loses interest easily?
Keep a Daily Behavioral Journal
If you are not sure what may be the cause, keep a daily journal to help look for trends that may help you and your grandchild get the help needed, such as…
- Behaviors and their triggers both at home and school should be recorded – if they happen more in one setting than another, then perhaps something else unknown to you is causing problems
- Record the comments your grandchild makes about his school work and experiences – such as he couldn’t keep up with the teacher, couldn’t finish in time allowed, can’t pay attention, easily distracted by others or sounds, in trouble for talking too much or clowning around, forgot his book or to write assignments down, loses things easily, teacher can’t read his writing or he can’t understand his notes, or has difficulty remembering what he learned in school by the time he does his homework, etc.
- Try to find things that work and don’t to motivate him – if it works, share it with his teachers; if it doesn’t ask for help to find what does – give your grandchild ownership into any plan you come up with – it has to be relevant for your grandchild for it to work
- Ask teachers for their informal observations – teachers are objective observers and can see consistency in behaviors, both positive and negative – sometimes students act differently in school than they do at home, do not discount what the teachers tell you – support the teachers, they want to help to make your grandchild’s experiences good ones – remember it helps both of you and your grandchild if you can work together – be open to suggestions, please! A positive reinforcement behavior plan can give the student quick feedback to support the good behavior – reward the positive and do not take away for the negative – only use positive rewards.
- Does your grandchild seem to get confused when you give directions with multiple steps, such as “I want you to make your bed, pick up your toys, then go outside and put your bike away before you watch TV.” – did he make his bed and watch TV, or go outside and put his bike away and watch TV, or ride his bike and watch TV or just watch TV? He probably wasn’t trying to ignore your directions, he just couldn’t process it all and did only what he could pick up on or remember.
- When asked specific questions, does your grandchild seem to be at a loss for words yet can talk up a storm when he’s interested in something?
- Does your grandchild seem to miss reading social cues that we take for granted and/or have difficulty relating and playing with other children? Is there something that he’s really into and can easily retain what he learns about it?
- Does your grandchild have difficulty sorting and sequencing items, numbers, letters or repeating events in a story in the order they happened or drawing simple shapes such as a square?
Meet with Your Child’s Teacher and Support Staff
If your grandchild shows consistency in any of these difficulties during play and school, do not hesitate to request a meeting with your school’s special services staff. Meet with them, discuss your concerns, and be open to their observations and feedback. You may request an evaluation. Based on the outcome, they will make recommendations to you that will help your grandchild’s academic and emotional well-being.
If you have the slightest inclination that something just isn’t right, act on it. Having academic and social difficulties in school can carry over to home, too, often lowering a child’s self-esteem, causing frustration, and hindering motivation to improve. With a support system in place, your grandchild can succeed.