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Understanding Academic Underachievement in a Child with Learning Disabilities

Contributing Factors to Evan's academic underachieving

Purpose: To explore more fully a scenario of a child/youth who has been identified as having some type of special needs and addressing specific questions related to the scenario.


Directions: Choose One of the Categories to address each question as thoroughly as possible using your own words. Be descriptive--show evidence. Be thorough! If you quote from a text, use quotation marks and cite page number.


Learners with learning disabilities evan, a 10-year-old with learning disabilities On meeting Evan, many people could not believe he was having difficulty in school. His geniality and streetwise manner suggested a maturity well beyond his 10 years. Strangers were often impressed by his toothy grin and quick wit; yet, Evan was a difficult child to have in the classroom.


Despite verbal resourcefulness and creativity, he lacked even the most basic academic skills. His mastery of math facts, spelling words, or literal information within a written passage was inconsistent. One Monday he might learn a new reading word, but the following day he would insist he had never seen it. In the classroom Evan drove his teachers to distraction. He was almost always bewildered by assignments.


He frequently asked other students what he was supposed to do and was usually slow at starting a new task or was unable to do it at all. He seemed to be everywhere at once. He couldn’t sit still or keep his hands off others. As a result, many of Evan’s teachers let him spend a considerable portion of the day playing in the back of the room. [Remember he is 10 years old].


Evan has one older sibling and one sibling three years his junior. His relationship is basically non-existent with the older sibling and somewhat close with the younger sibling. Evan also lives in a two-parent household with both his parents working. His dad is an engineer and is away 2-3 days per week. His mother is a teacher. Even though he professed hatred for school, Evan rarely missed a day.


He was usually there when the first teachers began to arrive in the morning and was generally one of the last to leave at the end of the day. Before and after school Evan was a favorite of the teachers. He was courteous, entertaining, and helpful. Once the opening bell rang, however, he often becomes bossy, stubborn, and irritable.



1.Wha t might have been some of the contributing factors to Evan’s academic underachieving?


2.If you were Evan’s teacher , how could you help him stay on track? Identify strategies you would try.


3.Why do you think Evan spent so much time at school?


4.What kinds of academic and social experiences should Evan receive? What could you do as his teacher? Be specific!


5.What additional information regarding Evan would have helped you in addressing the questions?

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