By Renee Smith | J&R Tutoring Academy of Indiana

Renee_blog-photo_72dpiDo you have a dog? I have a miniature schnauzer. He is the fourth one and the third male our family – and now just me – has had.

If you have ever had a dog, you know that they are creatures of habit. Whether a puppy or an adult dog, they don’t have to be in your house long before they have figured out the family patterns. Mine can tell whether I’m putting on a coat to leave or to take him for a walk. He knows when it is 3:00pm – even if he has been napping – because that is when he gets an afternoon treat!

Dogs are very good at training their humans. You may not want to go for a walk, but the dog will let you know that a walk is going to happen. When I don’t begin my dog’s supper preparations in a timely manner, he begins to pace. If that doesn’t work, he will sit in front of me and growl very quietly. If I’m still holding out, the rear goes up in the air and he begins jumping back and forth. If all else fails, he barks at me.

Bottom line – we know what our pets need and we react to their needs.

Are we as attentive to the needs of our children?

Young children, especially those in the first few years of school, may need something but they don’t know how to express that need. Often they don’t even realize help is needed.

Maybe they become reluctant to get ready for school. Or they hide papers – either graded ones or ones that are supposed to be done at home. Do they feel “sick” a little too often? Perhaps your formerly outgoing child has begun to withdraw.

Chances are your child may be having some difficulty at school. S/he doesn’t know why, but knows something is amiss. No two children are going to react the same way to school or to a problem.

The earlier a parent can address learning problems, the better the outcome. My daughter had a learning problem. I knew something was wrong and kept asking questions, but for several years the response was that she was not paying attention. Finally in the sixth grade when everything seemed to come apart, I demanded that she be tested. The test revealed that she could not process information auditorily. This is a very common type of dyslexia.

By that time her self-esteem was at ground level. Although she ultimately graduated from college, the time lost and the damage to her self-confidence could have been avoided.

Your dog knows how to tell you when a walk is needed. Your young child cannot express his problems as easily. As the parent, the responsibility to pay attention is yours.

I am sure there are many stories about discovering a potential learning problem and how it was resolved. Please share your story and help a parent who might be experiencing a similar situation.