I met with a kid today who is going to be soon falling off the Curriculum Ship.
The captain will keep the crew focused. “We can’t stop the Curriculum Ship,” the captain shouts over and over from September through June. “It doesn’t matter if anyone falls off. We have to go full steam ahead. The Curriculum Ship must get to the other port by June!!!!! Stay focused. It doesn’t matter if you can’t do the work – try harder!”
The Curriculum Ship is my image for what happens to the kids that I see practically every day of my professional life – the ones who are having trouble keeping up. Put simply the work that they are getting is over their head, yet are not given much direct support.
Take, Meghan, an engaging 7 year old. The mom said to me “It’s just my mother’s intuition. I’ve seen her struggle with reading and writing – I just know that something’s up, even though the school has declined any attempt to have her evaluated.”
According to Meghan’s teachers the things that Meghan’s mom raises as concerns are downplayed. “Don’t worry about her spelling,” Meghan’s mom is told. “She’s so sweet, and she seems so interested in helping in class and engaging with great ideas.” “It can’t be dyslexia.”
Listen up, moms.
Having evaluated thousands of kids over the years, I know one thing – when the mom’s gut is telling her there is something off, 99.9% of the time there is.
So when you see your kid clinging to the side of the Curriculum Ship and about to fall off try and take an action even if the school does not seem inclined to do anything.
This action can take the form of finding an outside assessment or a screening with a trusted professional who can identify the areas of concern. Typically some form of outside remediation needs to occur. With Meghan’s mom, she didn’t want to wait around any longer. She sensed things were getting more challenging and her sense of confidence was declining. Meghan was then evaluated and found to have mild to moderate issues with reading, spelling and writing. These issues were probably not severe enough for the school to take an official action, like classifying her for special education, but they were enough to be taking their toll on her.
Trust your intuition and listen to your gut. Try and take action if you can in the form of some type of assessment and follow up remedial tutoring once issues have been identified.