As we approach the holiday season, many parents are finding that their children are "hitting the wall" and are struggling in school. The reasons are often several: The areas of need (whether academic or otherwise) are not being full supported in school; the expectations as the school year unfolds become higher; the complexities of assignments increase; and the gaps widen. Learning moves from rote memorization to the "higher order" thinking skills; i.e. the why and how questions, the explain and support questions. Many children -- those with a diagnosis and those without -- experience periods of strength and weakness throughout a school year yet the flags need to start waving when patterns of struggle and failure emerge.
Whether your child is on an IEP or 504, now is the time to re-examine these documents and the evaluations that helped develop them and determine what is working and what is not. Now is the time to assess where additional supports may be needed and to access them quickly. Aside from the failing grades (and these alone create significant stress for the child), there are broader issues that impact self-esteem, confidence, and capability, each of which can be shaken and are not easily remedied. The worst thing a parent can do is remain static, denying that issues exist and being fearful of understanding why. The best thing a parent can do is look at the issues head-on, pursuing whatever strategies are necessary to help.
If your child is struggling with academics (e.g. reading or math), secure tutoring support now. If your child is struggling with organizational and study skills, tutoring and coaching can help. Regardless of the area, mobilize resources so that your child can start the new year with more support and a greater opportunity for success in school.