5 common concerns about getting your child help at school

We all want what’s best for our kids. But it’s easy to feel hesitant about asking for extra help at school. Here are some ideas for thinking about common concerns.

1. You’re worried about your child being labeled.

A lot of families worry about this. Your child having a “label” of needing extra help can be stressful for some people.

Some families in our community worry about their child being viewed as “less than.” Or “not good enough.” Others worry about adding a label on top of one their child already has.

Try to keep in mind that the goal of getting help in school isn’t to add a barrier between your child and the other students. The goal is to get your child the support they need to thrive alongside the other kids.

And getting help in school isn’t just about what your child struggles with. It’s also about discovering more of your child’s strengths and using them to get better at something. 

2. You’re worried that your child will feel “dumb.”

Kids who learn and think differently may worry about being “dumb.” And as a parent, it can be hard to hear your child say it.

It’s true that getting extra help may make kids feel like they’re “dumb” or different. But the bottom line is that learning and thinking differently doesn’t mean kids aren’t smart. That’s a conversation to have with your child. You can also learn what to say when your child says “I’m dumb.”

3. You’re worried that your child will be singled out by other kids.

Friendship and socializing are a big part of school. You might worry that your child will be teased or even bullied for getting extra support. It’s good to remind your child (and yourself) that everybody has strengths and challenges. Even the kids who seem like they’re good at everything.

Yes, some kids may say negative things. And it’s important to talk about that with your child and come up with a plan for when it does. Other kids might just be curious about why your child leaves the room or has extra help. (They may even be jealous!)

4. You’re worried that teachers will see your child differently.

It may be hard to trust that teachers will see that your child can meet the same expectations as other kids. You may also worry that a teacher may say something insensitive or not understand learning and thinking differences.

It’s OK to be concerned. It’s also OK to talk to the teacher about those concerns. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that in person, or you don’t have time to, consider sending an email.

5. You’re worried about having to work with the school.

Not all families are comfortable interacting with school staff. You might be shy. You might have a hard time managing your emotions when talking about your child’s challenges. You might be uncomfortable for other reasons unique to your family. Or you might want to be more involved but can’t because of work schedules and other obstacles.

If face-to-face interactions are hard for you, try emailing the teacher to find an arrangement that works better. You can also talk about how to work around scheduling trouble. You may find that the school has a solution that will work for you and your family. 

Getting your child support in school can help relieve some of the stress you might be feeling. It may take some effort to get there, but in the long run, it can be helpful for both you and your child. Kids who get the support they need often make better progress in school. And feeling successful in the classroom can help your child build positive self-esteem.


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