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Let's Talk: The Myth of the Lazy Child

Does this sound familiar?

  • "Your child is smart but unmotivated."

  • "If only they tried harder, your child would do so much better."

  • "Your child is lazy. He refuses to do assignments and always forgets his homework."

Many students with undiagnosed disabilities (and sometimes with diagnosed disabilities!) are accused of being lazy or unmotivated by teachers and (sometimes) parents. And it makes sense why they might think that: from the outside they see a smart and talented child with tons of 'unmet potential.' Teachers probably have the best intentions when they call to discuss your unmotivated child, but this kind of rhetoric can have seriously negative consequences for your child.

The truth is many children with learning disabilities actually work much harder than their peers. The child has probably crafted mechanisms to compensate for their disability all on their own, and they're processing lessons through this self-created lens. This is actually an amazingly impressive skill for a child, but one that often goes unacknowledged and has limited impact. While we can appreciate the skill and creativity that goes into creating their own 'fix up strategies,' your child would be better off working with experts to teach them effective strategies to access their lessons.

Learning disabilities are not the result of lazy students and working harder will not overcome it. Students with learning disabilities require support that meets their needs, but that is not due to a lack of motivation to learn. In actuality, lack of motivation is often a symptom of unmet learning needs and should be addressed in a successful IEP or 504 plan meeting.

If this sounds like your child, reach out to us to discuss how we can help. The best thing you can do is give your child the tools they need to be successful in school!

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