Parents and Educators
Under achievement is a puzzle because many
different causes can lead to the same self-
defeating behavior pattern.
When students encounter frustration,
Underachievers decrease their effort,
Achievers increase their effort.
Many students with attention disorders and learning
disabilities go undiagnosed as late as high school or
One surprising reason for this delay of diagnosis is that
many of these underachievers are VERY SMART.
In the lower grades they were able to compensate for their
unknown disability with their superior intelligence, In time
these young people find themselves more and more
frustrated and less and less successful.
The growing academic challenges overwhelm
their compensatory strategies.
SHRINKING FROM THE CHALLENGES OF
SCHOOL AND LIFE, OTHER HIDDEN CAUSES:
- Depression: gradually dulls motivation and drains
- Anxiety: in its many guises can paralyze a learner during
tests and even stop them from asking a question.
- Earlier Trauma: can create intense anxiety and even more
serious symptoms that isolate a learner
- Drugs: can, at first, be a students "solution" to failure,
anxiety, or frustration, leading to unpredictable behavior
THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT SOLVING THIS PUZZLE
- All of the patterns of under achievement mentioned here
are treatable and many can resolve rapidly
- A team approach is essential. The professionals in the
schools are in the perfect position to identify
underachievers early and guide them to help.
- The school's counselors, parent teacher committees, and
child study teams will identify and resolve most of these
- When a referral is necessary, whether to assist in
diagnosis or to help families turn good intentions into a
process of change, the professionals at Oldwick
Associates in Psychotherapy are there to help.
- Exciting advances in the technologies of diagnosis and
approaches to treatment are continuing to occur. The
professionals at OAP are constantly updating their tools