Too many of us are guilty of intervening with our children too late. Whether they are struggling socially, emotionally, or with their academics, we want to believe our children’s behaviors are part of a normal transition from one stage of development to the next. As educators, we don’t want to over-identify problems. We want to believe, as parents do, that children catch up, they’re resilient, and they don’t need us making a bigger deal out of something than it has to be. Unfortunately, not wanting to overreact has meant we “under-respond.” Our children need us to be paying close attention, recognizing a genuine struggle when we see it, and doing something about it as early as possible. With reading, for example, statistics from the Canadian National Institute of Child Health and Human Development tell the tale: 95% of poor readers can be brought up to grade level if they receive effective help within the first couple of years of school; 75% of children whose help is delayed to age 9 or later continue to struggle throughout their school years; if help is given in 4th grade, rather than in late kindergarten, it takes 4 times as long to improve the same skills by the same amount; and, 44% of parents who noticed their child was struggling waited a year or more before acknowledging their child may have a problem. The truth is it is never too late to help a child, whether the challenge is academic, social, or emotional, but early intervention is what makes the biggest, quickest difference. Let none of us, parents or educators, delay in recognizing and responding to the needs of our children. To learn more about early intervention with the effects of stress and trauma in children, please visit www.DrMelrose.com and read You Can Heal Your Child available at amazon.com.
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