School difficulties that have not been described on this chart should be discussed with your child's teachers. Your doctor's advice may also be helpful in some cases.


Dyslexia means difficulty with words. Early signs include difficulty in learning to read, write, and spell. Dyslexia is not linked to low intelligence. If you think your child may be dyslexic, talk to your doctor and your child's teachers. They should be able to arrange for a formal assessment of your child and subsequent support (see also Useful addresses, p.31 1).


Children with dyslexia need extra support and patience when learning to read.

Possible causes Dislike of school may be caused by a variety of factors. For example, children starting a new school may be anxious. Your child may be having difficulties with work at school or be afraid of certain teachers or pupils. If not tackled, a dislike of school may progress into a refusal to attend school.

action Try to find out the cause of the problem, and discuss your child's feelings with his or her teachers so that they can watch out for signs of bullying (opposite). Do not keep your child at home. Depending on the cause of the problem, it may be necessary for your child to receive extra teaching or help through a child guidance clinic.

possible cause This type of problem may be due to bullying, even if your child is initially reluctant to admit it (see Bullying, opposite).

action Talk to your child about the situation, and speak to his or her teachers. Bullying or other violence at school should be taken very seriously. Your child's school should have a policy for dealing with bullying, and you can help by building up your child's confidence.

possible causes School refusal may be a sign that something is seriously wrong. There may be a problem at school, such as bullying (opposite), or a failure of the school to meet the child's needs. Occasionally, refusal to go to school is caused by anxiety at home or, in a young child, by anxiety over separation from his or her parents.

action Try to discover the underlying cause of your child's refusal to go to school so that it can be dealt with, and make every effort to ensure that your child attends school. In the meantime, discuss the problem with your child's teachers. If the situation does not improve, consult your doctor. He or she may recommend you seek help for your child through a child guidance clinic.

Is your child easily bored, unable to concentrate, restless, impulsive, and/or disruptive?

yes no

Is your child's behaviour at home acceptable?

Go to chart Behaviour problems (p.94)

Possible cause Although this type of behaviour is normal in small children, school-age children who are constantly active and disruptive may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (p.95). Consult your doctor.

action Your doctor will probably refer your child to a specialist to confirm the diagnosis. Children with this condition need extra support at home and in school, and some need drug treatment.

Possible causes Bad behaviour that is confined to school can be due to a number of problems. Schoolwork may be too easy, leading to boredom, or it may be too difficult, possibly because of an unrecognized learning difficulty, resulting in loss of interest. Bad behaviour may also be the result of rejecting authority. In some cases, poor behaviour at school may be due to bullying (opposite).

action Talk to your child to try to uncover the cause of the problem. It is also wise to discuss the problem with your child's teachers. Adjustments may need to be made to your child's schoolwork so that it meets his or her needs more closely. In some cases, help through a child guidance clinic may be arranged by your doctor.

Eye problems

For blurred vision in children, see chart 28, Disturbed or impaired vision (p.100).

This chart deals with pain, itching, redness, and/or discharge from one or both eyes. In children, such symptoms are most commonly the result of infection or local irritation. In most cases, it is reasonable to treat these problems at home initially. Always seek immediate medical advice about injury to the eye or for any foreign body in the eye that cannot be removed by simple self-help measures. You should also seek medical help if home treatment is not effective.

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