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Youth Mental Health Issues: Helping Your Child Experience Success At School

Are you tired of getting those dreaded phone calls from your child’s teacher or principal or school counselor?  What has Timmy done now? How many days of in-school suspension will he have this week?  Do I really need to attend another conference to discuss Ashley’s progress?  Parenting a struggling child can be stressful for all involved, but here are some things you can do to help your child experience success at school.

Keep the lines of communication open.  I know it may be tempting to ignore those phone calls from teachers, especially when there is a behavior concern.  But, it is important to show support for your child by working with his or her teachers.  It also makes a statement to your child when he knows that you are communicating with school staff members.

Seek the help of a professional.  If your child is struggling in school academically and/or behaviorally, it may be a good idea to talk to a mental health counselor or therapist to diagnose the problem.   By examining your child’s medical, psychosocial and family history, a trained counselor may be able to pinpoint if there is a mental health issue that needs to be addressed.  If there is a problem, your counselor can help you devise a plan to get your child on the right track.

Ask your child’s teacher about a 504 plan or special education services for your child. If your child has been diagnosed with a mental health issue, there are accommodations and possibly modifications in the school setting that may help your child.  Section 504 is a civil rights mandate that ensures that students with disabilities are afforded the same opportunities as his/her non-disabled peers.  Students who are eligible for a 504 plan may receive accommodations in the general education setting.  If your child’s impairments are more severe requiring modification of instruction or classroom setting, special education services may be needed.  A full evaluation will be conducted by educational diagnosticians to determine if and what special education services are needed.  Your first point of contact should be your child’s teacher or school counselor to learn more about Section 504 and special education services.

Parenting, especially in the world we inhabit today, is a challenge.  It’s even more of a challenge when you have a struggling child.  If you feel like you have exhausted all efforts, it may be time to contact a professional.  A licensed counselor may be able to determine if your child has mental health issues that require intervention.  In the process, your stress levels as a parent may diminish. Contact Amy Wine Counseling Center to take the next step towards gaining peace of mind.  We can be reached at 832-421-8714.


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