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Web exclusive: More help for struggling students

To help a child who continues to be frustrated at school, look both within and without. Pinpoint what kind of outside resources will best help her physically and emotionally and encourage her to find her strengths and interests in setting a path to her future.

Find your child’s place in the world
Your child’s interests may be quite different from yours, but there is a place for each ability in the work force. Observe what your child tends to gravitate toward, remembering he is a wonderful blend of several intelligences and personality traits. Be sure he reaches minimum benchmarks to have the opportunity to pursue any career he seems to enjoy. For a more comprehensive list of job options by intelligence, see

• Verbal/linguistic—lawyer, marketer, teacher, writer (curriculum, news, fiction), broadcaster

• Mathematical/logical—pharmacist, engineer, accountant, detective, analyst

• Spatial/visual—artist (2-D, 3-D, graphic), interior designer, architect, pilot, photographer, mechanic, filmmaker

• Musical/rhythmic—audiologist, speech pathologist, composer, sound engineer, performer, music teacher or therapist

• Intrapersonal—actor, fund-raiser, entrepreneur, counselor

• Interpersonal—communications or human resources specialist, social worker, teacher, group mediator, trainer, motivational speaker

• Naturalistic—wildlife management/ranger, agricultural researcher, farmer, meteorologist, veterinarian, environmental engineer

• Bodily/kinesthetic—coach, trainer, dance or exercise instructor, carpenter, first responder, surgeon

• Existential—pastor, theology professor, devotional writer, counselor

Seek outside help
Jene Hedden, president emeritus, Shelby Counseling Associates and Shelby Energy member, suggests these sources that may help a child who lacks confidence at school:*

• Picture a positive future—Assure the child who is struggling that she can achieve success in life, perhaps because of, not in spite of, those challenges. Classroom struggles aren’t something to be afraid of; simply help the child come at life and mastery in other ways.

• Tutoring—Try one-on-one or group programs.

• Vision, behavioral, or other therapies—Some of these therapies seem expensive or time-consuming at first, but when your child begins to realize results, you will know this short-term investment will benefit him lifelong.

• Nutritional counseling—Reducing sugars or certain foods or dyes, or increasing certain minerals and proteins has helped some children become more calm and focused.

•Change in school—If your child deals with anxiety because of experiences at her school, work with your doctor, school district, and family to consider an alternative. Sometimes a change in friends and venue, even if just temporary, is a welcome relief for the child.

• Medication—After all other alternatives have been explored, a physician or psychologist may suggest trying medication, so that your child will have the tool he needs to be successful. Remember, the goal is not to medicate kids into compliance but to build confidence.

• Contact your child’s pediatrician to address individual medical needs and determine the most appropriate treatment; consult your pediatrician or school counselor for recommendations for a nutritional counselor, psychiatrist, or other therapists.

For more information on how to help your student, read Motivating student struggles.

Tim Webb

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