“Bill” has declining grades and increased behavioral difficulties

"Bill"“Bill” – A middle school student with declining grades has become more disruptive in class

Situation: Bill is in the eighth grade at a local public middle school. While his grades declined slightly when he started middle school, his parents attributed it to his adjustment to the larger environment. However, Bill’s grades have dropped sharply. He doesn’t bring his homework home, and he does poorly on tests.

Bill’s parents have received several calls from the school about his disruptive and off-task behavior in class. He has always struggled in school and his reading skills were often below grade level. The school is ready to identify Bill as having social-emotional difficulties. The solution, they told his parents, was medication and therapy. His parents were not so sure so they requested an evaluation from KSA.

Key Factors:

  • Bill’s grades dropped sharply once he started middle school.
  • According to the school, Bill’s behavior is disruptive and off-task in class.
  • The school recommended that Bill be evaluated for therapy and medication.

So what’s the problem? What’s causing Bill’s grades to drop and his behavior to change after starting middle school? 

Resolution: Social-emotional testing revealed that Bill was depressed, and that his symptoms were related to situational factors and inadequate coping skills. Psycho-educational testing identified Bill’s problems with such basic reading skills as phonemic awareness and memory for words; which, until recently, Bill could compensate for by using his excellent reasoning skills.

KSA helped Bill and his parents by:

  • Diagnosing Bill with a reading disorder.
  • Suggesting that he receive specific classroom accommodations and individual tutoring to rectify his reading weaknesses.
  • Recommending short-term psychotherapy to help Bill understand his learning style, improve his self-esteem and expand his repertoire of coping skills.