Failing to or delaying addressing a child’s learning problems has far-reaching implications for both parents and children.
Edublox warns that the real cost of withholding learning intervention programs from children with learning problems should not be underestimated. This could result in long-term financial burdens when children have to repeat a grade. The child often pays the price academically, emotionally and socially.
“Parents tend to spend money on exciting hobbies or sports in areas where their child is flourishing. They often find it difficult to acknowledge and prioritise resolving their child’s immediate academic issues,” says Susan du Plessis, Director of Educational Programs at Edublox. “Parents put off facing their child’s academic problems. They tend to hold on to the hope that the next report will be better. Their child’s busy schedule, full of extracurricular activities, also leaves no time for homework or attending extra classes.”
“Children often pay a steep price for not being able to learn at a level that is expected of them. Besides not being able to pursue a career of their choice one day, children with learning problems often develop emotional issues that can cause long-term psychological damage,” says du Plessis.
Dr. Marianna Alesi published research on this in the Journal of Psychological Abnormalities. She found that students who experience repeated failure, such as those with learning disabilities, are more likely to have anxious symptoms and to use avoidant behaviours. This, explains Alesi, creates a vicious circle where a learner’s self-esteem is negatively impacted by their learning ability. It can affect all aspects of their future development.*
Parents often underestimate the true value for money that effective, solution-driven and scientifically proven educational intervention programs provide.
Recent research by Old Mutual indicates that if a learner repeats a year at a state school, it could cost an estimated R 37,500 for school-related expenses alone. This excludes additional food, recreation and transport costs.** “When looking at the cost of an additional year of school fees, the economic choice to invest a marginal amount in solving an academic issue early on becomes much simpler,” says du Plessis.
Parents concerned about the affordability of getting specialised help for their child’s learning woes are encouraged to take a look at their monthly expenditure. Prioritise expenses by making use of various budgeting tools available online or to consult a financial advisor.***
Alida Smit is a parent that can attest to the psychological and financial benefits of early intervention at a reputable and professional reading clinic.
Today an owner of such an clinic herself, she once struggled to find help for her dyslexic son.
“My son’s confidence blossomed. Exposed to the right intervention and development programs, his attitude towards learning changed completely. When my daughter started experiencing some of the same challenges, I was able to help her immediately without having to exhaust many options. Not only was the cost significantly less, but she benefitted much sooner. She also didn’t experience the emotional and psychological roller coaster of emotions,” she says.
Today’s challenging economic environment is forcing parents to cut down on costs wherever possible. Parents often overlook the financial implications of an academically struggling learner. They feel they cannot afford professional help for their children. Du Plessis advises that parents who want to save money should do research to evaluate various learning support programs available. Make selections based on their track record, quality control measures, and the realistic timeframe of improvement. “Parents can provide their child with the opportunity to excel at school by temporarily reducing luxury expenses,” says du Plessis.
The best solution for parents is to get help for their children as soon as possible.
“Nip learning problems in the bud. It makes sense from a financial perspective and helps build your child’s self-confidence,” says du Plessis. “As parents, we have a responsibility to not only provide our children with an education, but to ensure that they have a wide array of choices when it comes to possible career paths after school. The temporary financial sacrifice for resolving your child’s learning difficulties is a long term, emotional and educational investment towards your child’s future success,” du Plessis concludes.
* Alesi, M., Rappo, G., & Pepi, A. (2014). Depression, Anxiety at School and Self-Esteem in Children with Learning Disabilities. Journal of Psychological Abnormalities, July 2014.
** Direct Axis, (2013). The Cost of Raising a Child in South Africa [Online] Available from: https://www.directaxis.co.za/topics-tips-tools/cost-raising-child-south-africa [Accessed: 2016-04-29].