With so many causes in and out of school nowadays for teens in middle school and high school that result in poor academic performance, it is difficult sometimes to pinpoint the source of the anxiety and stress that is being put upon many teens today. In order to address any problems as early as possible and be able to work with your teen on alleviating them, you must be aware of signs, (beyond the obvious one of poor grades) that might begin to show themselves that will alert you to their struggles:
- Unusual Homework Hours
If you are teen seems to be nowhere in sight most of the time because they are spending nearly every waking moment in their room, at their desk, and with their nose firmly planted in a textbook then this could be a sure sign of academic troubles leading to excessive stress for your teen. Even if a teacher may give an excessive amount of homework, no teen should be spending more than a few hours each night on any subject in order to complete the work for the following day. This includes a teen that is eating only sporadically and staying up through the night to finish assignments.
- Teacher Communication Showing Concern
Even though it may be part of an instructor’s job in high school or middle school to keep an observant eye on students and their academic output, it does not often result in the teacher having to contact a parent. More often, the teacher can handle this academic issue with the student during or after class and resolve it. So, when a teacher takes the time to contact you, listen to what they have to say, ask questions, and note the answers to understand what the problem is and how to resolve it.
- Refusal to Talk About School
Not only will a teen who is struggling in school not want to discuss an environment that they deem negative, but they may even refuse to physically go to school because they cannot face any more academic failure. They may want to attend extra-curricular activities still, but they will skip certain classes because they do not do well in that particular subject.
- Attitude Change Regarding School
If they don’t completely stop attending school or discussing it, your teen may instead complain about it constantly. This might be specific complaints about subjects or teachers and happens nearly constantly or without any prompting. It may even occur as a pattern of activity right before they have to leave for school in the morning. This may also include chronic behavioral issues resulting from the teen’s need to find a way to be taken out of the school environment and their answer is to misbehave and be suspended or even expelled.
Individual Educational Plan
One way to assist in identifying and then working toward alleviating a middle school or high school teens struggles in through an individual educational plan (IEP).
An IEP is designed by educators for the involvement of not only teachers but parents, administration, and any additional academic staff that are deemed necessary in the process of assessing the academic struggles of a student and setting that student’s academic goals as a team. It is the first and most important step in your teen being identified as a student that needs additional educational guidance beyond the regular classroom environment.
According to the Department of Education, a team of educational professionals has the task of looking at the student’s unique educational needs and then customize a plan to suit those needs. The aim is to alleviate the additional anxiety, stress and general psychological issues involved with poor academic growth so that, ultimately, the student can participate fully in a regular classroom and a general curriculum.
Customized Learning at Diamond Ranch Academy (DRA)
When your teen comes to Diamond Ranch Academy, their individualized educational plan begins from the minute you enroll your child. The milieu therapy at DRA is customized based on the intake discussions with your teen and specifically relate to his or her social skills that are lacking and to create a higher level of confidence in your teen.
This is coupled with group therapy specifically during the orientation and assessment week (O & A) so that teens get to know other peers in the program and understand that they are not alone in their struggles. Then, the individual and family therapy becomes part of the individualized plan soon after.
Of these three areas of therapy, the teen’s individualized plan can include any or all of the following models:
- Cognitive Behavioral
- Smart Recovery Addiction/Substance Abuse Counseling
- Structural Family Therapy
- Rational Emotive Behavior
- Motivational Interviewing
- Crisis Management
- Narcotics/Alcoholics Anonymous
- Solution Focused Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Equine Psychotherapy to name a few…
With the individualized needs of each teen in mind, DRA’s goals are to teach your teen the life skills they need to address their academic and social struggles on their own successfully.