Thursday 29 January 2015

My dyslexic son won't apply himself to his school work

David Coleman recommends talking to a year head about son's learning difficulties
David Coleman recommends talking to a year head about son's learning difficulties

My son will be 15 in December and is just starting third year in school. I am already dreading the year and am afraid that he just will not apply himself back in school.

Before the summer he had lost all interest in school. He is dyslexic but despite this has the ability to do well.

He is very good with his hands and loves the practical subjects but he will not apply himself to do any book work at all. He had started smoking and mitched off a few times before the holidays but he claims he has stopped all that now.

I want him to get the Junior Cert and hopefully to stay in school long enough to do his Leaving Cert.

We are only a week into the school year and I am stressed already. He won't listen to me at all so I don't know how I am going to get through to him.

David says: Sometimes our anticipation of problems can cause us more anxiety than the problems themselves. Even though you don't yet have any evidence that your son is lackadaisical in his approach to school this year, you are expecting it.

So, while your fears may be realised as the year progresses, it really won't help you or your son to be predicting a disastrous year for him this year.

Do remember the positives, like his practical skills, that you have already identified from previous years.

It does sound like last year was difficult for your son, and for you.

It is always a worry when youngsters seem to lose all interest in their education.

However, 14 is a tricky age. It is typically the age at which most youngsters are coming into, or are already in the throes of their hormonal development.

I think it can be very difficult for young teenagers to focus on their education when their minds are so absorbed with developmental issues, like their identity, their sexuality and where they fit in socially.

Many teachers will probably also tell you that students in this age group can be the hardest to motivate and keep focused.

They certainly are not thinking in the long term about the opportunities they may be denying themselves by missing out on their education.

If he feels that his friends don't value education then it will be hard for him to see the value in it either.

However, if he says that he has changed his behaviours, then it may also indicate that he has moved away from that group.

If he has then this would be a very positive step for him.

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