Navigating life with a child that has learning difficulties: Stories from our MSA families

According to Learning Difficulties Australia, “It is estimated that one in 10 students struggle with a learning difficulty in Australia.” That is roughly two to three kids struggling with a learning difficulty in every classroom around the country. With a school that has an average of one class per grade, that is approximately fifteen students per primary and secondary school left behind in the mainstream system. Fifteen students missing out on the education they not only need but deserve, and this statistic only notes those that have been diagnosed. Many students are labelled naughty, disengaged or withdrawn when they actually have an undiagnosed learning difficulty.

Identified learning difficulties can range from Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, or the impact Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may have on learning. Learning difficulties are serious limitations on a person’s ability to read, write or engage in mathematics. Attending school can be extremely overwhelming, confronting and stressful for someone with a learning difficulty or someone who has struggled to keep up with the consistent ‘teach and move on’ approach in mainstream education. When students fall behind in the classroom they continue to have difficulty understanding new concepts, retaining information, solving problems, communicating effectively and engaging in broader subject areas beyond literacy and numeracy.

For someone experiencing academic stress, it can be embarrassing and debilitating. Often students will turn to behaviours that hide their limitations in the classroom in fear they will be judged. Students may become shy and withdrawn from friends and community or behave poorly to distract their friends and community from their learning deficits.

Mastery Schools Australia (MSA) is dedicated to providing targeted support for students in years 4-10 struggling with their learning. MSA provides a place where students can feel heard in the classroom and benefit from learning at their pace and level.

For many families, the ongoing challenge for parents with children who feel left behind in the classroom is getting them to school each day. Parent of an MSA student Courtney, reports how her son struggled with all aspects of school because he was not getting the support he needed for his dyslexia in a mainstream school. Courtney was frustrated with the system and desperate to get her son the learning support he needed. She was constantly told her son was the “naughty kid,” and she started to notice “he wasn’t a happy child anymore.” However, in 2022, Courtney found MSA.

Courtney said, “MSA has given [my son] the opportunity to learn at his pace, level and ability, and that shift has been huge. There is no fighting to get out the door in the morning, and [my son] is just happy to go to and from school. MSA has just been so beneficial on so many levels.”

If your child is struggling in a mainstream school, don’t wait for the system to change, get the help your child needs from a school that cares about their education and growth. Learn more about Mastery Schools Australia.