Dannah Ziegert, Ph.D., Ed.S.
Specializing in Psychological Evaluation and Psychotherapy


There may be many reasons children are not performing well academically and/or behaviorally in school.  Among these reasons are that they have a learning disability and/or an attentional problem, such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which prevents them from learning information presented in a typical grade-level education.  These difficulties can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, sadness, and worry.  For some children, the outcome is acting out behaviorally (e.g., talking back, being disruptive, not completing assignments).  Understanding the specific learning challenges faced by a child, in addition to the interplay between academic learning, attention, and emotional concerns allows for development of the most informed intervention strategy. 

Other children exhibiting behavioral problems may be experiencing challenges socially and emotionally.  As it can be difficult for children to express their feelings with appropriate words, they, too, resort to acting out their feelings behaviorally (e.g., aggression, talking back).  

Another group of children appears contradictory:  They seem so intelligent, yet are not achieving grades consistent with their intelligence and may even be getting into trouble due to their behavior.  These children may have intellectual strengths which make them bored in a typical educational setting.  Consequently, they may have difficulty attending, may be restless, and may engage in distracting behaviors.  They may not complete assignments and may earn poor grades. 

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