“Mary” is on academic probation due to concentration difficulties

"Mary"“Mary” – Her concentration difficulties have resulted in falling grades and academic probation

Situation: Mary is a bright student who attends an accelerated independent school. Over the years, her parents have noted that she takes many breaks while doing homework; work that should have taken her one hour, often takes two or three. Although she’s quiet and appears anxious, Mary is a good athlete and gets much satisfaction from her success in basketball. Yet, she’s now on probation due to declining grades, and can’t engage in any school extracurricular activities.

Teachers say she is just “not interested” in the subject matter, and would do fine if she just paid attention.

Key Factors:

  • Mary seems to take longer than necessary to complete homework.
  • She’s a good athlete, quiet and appears anxious.
  • Her teachers think Mary is capable of doing better if she would pay closer attention.
  • Because Mary’s grades have dropped, the school has prohibited her from participating in extracurricular activities.

So what’s the problem? Does Mary have ADHD?  Are there other learning problems or is she not smart enough for an accelerated program? Or, is she really just not interested in school?

Resolution: A comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation indicated that Mary is very bright and should be thriving in an accelerated program. Notably, as with many girls, when tested on conventional measures of ADHD, Mary scored well within the average range. However, further investigation revealed that she did, in fact, demonstrate many of the symptoms attributed to girls with ADHD, including, anxiety, withdrawal and inattentiveness.

KSA helped Mary and her parents by:

  • Diagnosing Mary with ADHD and recommending a trial of medication.
  • Recommending school accommodations that included sitting in front of class, taking frequent breaks and using a separate room for tests to minimize distractions.
  • Helping Mary develop strategies to address her ADHD in classes and when studying independently.

With these interventions, Mary’s academic performance has dramatically improved!