I have a 10-year-old daughter who has been struggling with school for the past 3 years. She struggles in reading and math and just seems to not get it. There was a time she would even cry when it was time to do her homework.

This year I moved into a great school district and her teacher noticed the things I was talking about and had her tested. The school psychologist evaluated my daughter because she was already receiving extra help and wasn't improving. They read her extams to her and gave her extra time with visual aids. They said they don't know what she retains. It's random facts or instructions. At home she does seem to forget things but can memorize songs and random details. The school told me after the testing the specialist found that my daughter's short term memory was not holding information the way it should. They want to place her in a special education classroom.

I've been very hands on with everything. Since the evaluation report indicates that she has a learning disability, it establishes the fact she is eligible and recommended for special education. However it doesn't state what learning disability she may have. It's general for being a specific individual evaluation on a child. I asked her teacher about seeking medical attention and she stated she was not qualified to answer that. My daughter wears glasses to correct her vision and passed a hearing test. It's very frustrating not knowing and the school sugar coating everything. I can't get my daughter the best help if I don't know what help she needs.

Should I seek a neurologist? I'm worried! Her 9-year-old brother is gifted.

  • Just as a stupid question. Does she sing along to her favorite band? When she hears new songs is she able to hum or sing them?
    – Karlson
    Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 0:25
  • @Karlson Are you trying to get at she may be an auditory learner?
    – bobobobo
    Commented Sep 1, 2012 at 14:02
  • @bobobobo Basically yes. But more than that I am trying to probe whether she retains information at all.
    – Karlson
    Commented Sep 4, 2012 at 14:49

6 Answers 6


If it were one of my children, I would absolutely seek the advice of a medical professional. All the school specialists have been able to tell you is that her short term memory is not functioning properly, but they have not told you why and they won't be able to. A neurologist should be able to help you understand better what is going on with your daughter's short-term memory. This is a condition that could possibly affect her for the rest of her life, and it would be best to get all the information you possibly can to establish a good plan for handling the situation, and the more knowledge you have about her condition the better advocate you can be for her and her education.

She will probably need to be placed in the special ed. program because she either a) has a learning disability or b) she has some sort of physical issue that is causing her learning disability. I don't know if you're in the U.S. or another country, but in the United States she will have an IEP written up delineating the condition, the effect the condition has on her learning, and the special modifications that teachers need to make to help maximize her learning. If your son is gifted and in the US, you might all ready be familiar with this process (though most parents of gifted students are not). It is crucial that you be as involved in this process as you can possibly be so that you understand what is expected of the school, your daughter, and yourself.


Before you go and seek the neurologist I'd ask several questions:

  1. What kind of specialist did they show her to and what did that specialist do?
  2. Does your daughter learn better by sight or by ear?
  3. Does your daughter have problems retaining information that is not reading or math such as current events?

The problem may not be the short term memory but the learning style for example I retain subjects better by reading them and I can hardly retain something that was verbally explained to me and not because I don't understand what it is that is being explained. My wife on the other hand is the exact opposite and we were this way since we were kids as our parents told us.

Now once you get all these questions answered or find out that the school did or actually didn't do these I would seek a neurologist and have this looked at.

  • Karlson, the school psychologist evaluated my daughter because she was already reviving extra help and wasn't improving. They read her extams to her and give her extra time with visual aids. They said they don't know what she retains. It's random facts or instructions. At home she does seem to forget things but can memorize songs and random details . Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 15:29
  • 1
    @Worriedmommy And now I would seek a neurologist.
    – Karlson
    Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 15:35
  • I'm not sure how to edit on here,But I mean receiving extra help. Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 15:44
  • 2
    @Worriedmommy: regarding editing, you can only edit your comments for a few minutes, then they become locked. You can edit your questions and answers (and those of others!) indefinitely. Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 18:24
  • @Worriedmommy: I saw a documentary once a few years ago about a man who had severe short-term memory damage from an accident--as in, he had absolutely no short-term memory at all. His whole life more or less revolved around post-it notes. His apartment was just plastered with them to help him remember things. Your daughter might need to adopt a similar technique, though since technology is so much better than it was when this documentary filmed she probably won't need to rely on post-it notes.
    – Meg Coates
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 16:46

My 18 year old has an IEP (Individualized Education Program) because he has a low IQ (but not low enough). He was tested when he was young by the school system because he struggled to comprehend. However he was / is an awesome athlete and has a body of a Greek god. I was in high IQ classes when I was in high school and I've always told myself that God gave me a jock to balance me.

With that said, your daughter may not have a problem at all. She may have low confidence in herself. I would suggest more carrot and less stick and see what happens. After all, there's nothing wrong with a C student. Back in the day, C was considered average, B was better, and A was exceptional. However I feel that the school systems have forgotten that.

If I were you, I would get another opinion about her short term memory. Either way, if the school system offers an IEP, you should consider it. They will give her more time on tests and some help studying. If her problem is not sever, she will still graduate with a normal diploma. If her condition is more sever (as my son's may be) she will receive a diploma with IEP considerations - which just allows colleges to continue the process when she gets there.

She may not end up being a rocket scientist, but she may be the best daughter in the world, future loving wife and mother. Ultimately, that's far more important.


Studies have apparently shown that many learning problems are symptoms of underlying vision problems. If you haven't had her vision tested, it's at least worth a try.

I also found a symptoms checklist that might be worth looking at:



First of all, do not be devastated that she may have a learning disability!

Furthermore, be prepared for the possibility that she may have a learning disability and be gifted, especially given the fact that her brother is gifted.

The most important thing is to see a neurologist or other accredited evaluator and have her evaluated immediately. The sooner you find out what's going wrong, the sooner you can work to find coping mechanisms to help her out.

Do not just let the school place her in a special education class without finding out what is actually wrong. Schools (even with their special education class) may not be equipped to properly help her.


As far as I can see, everyone so far has followed you in assuming that your daughter is the problem, and not the school.

Easter school holidays are coming up (I guess). Have you got some time off work (if you work)?

Could you do some chilling out with your daughter? Get her really relaxed. Help her to forget school, forget all those things she's no good at.

Then, try and work some of that abstract 'learning' stuff into everyday life. Sing along to some of her favourite songs together. See if she can beat you at remembering the words. Get her to help you put a shopping list together, once you're in the shop, she has the list and tells you what to get.

Go out somewhere amazing she's never been, or to see a film she wants to see. At bedtime, hold her, ask her if she had a nice time, see how much she can tell you about her day.

In other words...

Before writing your daughter off as 'broken', and before trying to get someone to 'fix' her, please try to work out yourself just how bad it really is. Trust yourself to know your child well enough to be able to work out exactly what the problem is. Only then go find an appropriate specialist to help you with the problem. Don't trust a specialist to tell you if there is a problem in the first place.

All the symptoms you describe in your question could just be down to her hating school.

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