Answers to Parents’ Questions Regarding ‘Notes Sent Home from School’
“We are starting to get notes sent home from our son’s teacher; sometimes it’s regarding his behavior, other times it’s regarding his school performance or homework. What’s the best way to respond to these?”
Regrettably, it is usually not good news when your child’s teacher sends home a note or wants to talk to you regarding your child. As you start to listen or open the note (often not the first from this teacher), a number of thoughts run through your mind (usually of the “oh no, not again” variety).
Actually, there are a number of ways to respond to this. Unfortunately common, but unproductive, are to become angry at the child, ignore the note (or comment), or blame the teacher (possibly, but not the most likely cause). There are, fortunately, a number of very good, productive ways to respond:
1. Calmly share the note with your child and get their input.
2. Thank the teacher (some will not take the time to tell parents until it’s too late), clarify the problem, tell them of your efforts, and get their advice.
3. Share this information with your child.
4. If unsure of child’s motivation, provide consistent, immediate, significant rewards for improvements verified by the teacher (rewards are nine times more effective than punishments, and there is no re-surfacing anger or resentment that can result from punishments).
When these efforts are unsuccessful, consider that the problems are due to a deeper cause. First, check to see if your child understands what is being taught. If not, consider vision and hearing problems, and/or tutoring. Consider emotional problems at home or school. If these conditions do not seem to be present, the problem may be Attention Deficit Disorder (often referred to by schools as ADD, ADHD, or a Learning Disorder).
Some of the comments, which may be present in a teacher’s notes to parents or progress reports, which may indicate ADD (ADHD), are:
•Blurts out answers
•Loses school supplies
•Trouble finishing classwork
•Always on the go
•Forgets to turn in homework
•Talks too much and has
•Fidgets or squirms difficulty playing quietly
•Has trouble paying attention
There are two effective forms of treatment for this disorder, neurofeedback and medication. Medication is often effective, however, there are frequently unwanted side effects, and this treatment usually needs to continue on for the rest of the child’s life.
Neurofeedback is an effective alternative to medication with no unwanted side effects, and it is a one-time treatment. Neurofeedback is a painless, side effect-free procedure in which the person learns to re-train the attention mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition. Once the treatment is complete, no further training is necessary.
Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari, Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback