Poor school performance, indication of a learning disability

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE)- What's Going Around? Poor school performance, that's what!  UofL Pediatrician Dr. Judy Theriot offers advice for parents who feel their child's grades aren't as high as they should be.

A couple weeks ago our kids brought home progress notes, and the first report cards are just around the corner.  This may be the first time parents find out that things are not going well at school.  Are the grades lower than you expected? Does your child forget to turn in projects or have trouble remembering homework assignments?  Does he forget things that he needs to get the work done, such as books? How does he get along with the other kids?

Don't wait another report card cycle to see if things get better.  Make an appointment with your child's teacher or counselor and find out what's going on.  There may be things you can do at home to help.  Many kids just need basic organizational skills or external structure, a few will need a full multidisciplinary team evaluation. The evaluation, done by the school,  will determine if your child has an Attention Deficit Disorder or a Learning Disability or both.

Learning disabilities can cause trouble at any age but typically are diagnosed in later elementary school  or middle school.  The first few years of elementary school children are learning how to read after that they are reading to learn.  Children who read but have trouble with basic comprehension skills will have trouble keeping up.  Talk to the teachers, they are the experts, a full evaluation may reveal some minor learning differences that can be easily handled within the school system.  If your child is already diagnosed with ADHD remember that close to half of the kids with ADHD also have a learning disability and may benefit from an evaluation.

Don't let your child fall behind talk to his teacher today!

Also this week in Kentuckiana, at Norton Community Health Associates in Clarksville, Dr. Jill Howell-Berg is treating ear infections.

Allergies and head colds that cause chronic congestion can lead to ear infections, which are most common in the under two age group.

Classic symptoms in younger children include ear pain, pulling on the ears, fussiness,  decreased eating or poor sleeping, and fever.    Older children may complain of ear pain or pressure,  trouble hearing, or ears popping.

Ear infections are more common in the under two age group because the eustacian tubes which connect the tubes to the back of the throat are flat and do not drain naturally as they do in older children as the face grows, and the eustacian tubes develop an angle which helps prevent congestion behind the ear drum.

Risks for ear infections in addition to being under the age of two include smoking exposures, exposures to colds and respiratory illnesses, drinking a bottle while lying flat, and incomplete immunizations.

Mild ear infections may be cautiously observed without medicines. Many ear infections may improve without antibiotics.  More severe infections may need treatment including antibiotics, and pain control.  Your doctor may want to recheck the infected ear in 2-4 weeks.

Recurrent ear infections may necessitate ear tubes which allow infections to drain into the canal, and may be treated with ear drops alone. Ear tubes typically last 6-18 months!!