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Behaviour Disorders with Learning Difficulties
Behaviour Disorders with Advanced Development (Giftedness)

Classrooms in private or public schools require students to deliver routine behaviour practices and attention to the teacher’s instruction in order to function. When students do not behave in an orderly manner, or are not able to pay sufficient attention to the teacher, or disrupt others for any reason, they are not a good fit for the classroom.

  Red Flags in the Classroom

As a result of the above behaviour disorders, students come to the attention of the teacher or school officials in a negative way. They display some or all of the following characteristics:

  • They underperform and do not meet expectations for their grade
  • They avoid challenging tasks
  • They do not complete homework on time
  • They do not participate effectively in team-based learning
  • They are extremely quiet, withdrawn and keep to themselves
  • They act out or explode emotionally in inappropriate ways in the classroom
  • They are bullied or act the bully themselves.

It is often the case that these students are diagnosed with mental health conditions, which may be genuine, or can be caused by the distress that is the result of their failure to achieve academically or socially.

  Red Flags for Parents of Students with Behaviour Difficulties

When students are not successful in their main job of learning in school for whatever reason, parents often see the distress emerge at home:

  • They have health complaints so they will not have to go to school
  • They are disorganized in the morning to the point of being late
  • They refuse to go to school
  • They are irritable and appear distressed
  • The lose their appetite
  • They spend an unusual amount of time playing computer games or using the Internet
  • Their demeanour is very different on weekends or holidays than on week days
  • Teachers are complaining about incomplete homework, projects, inattention, or failure in the classroom

It is often the case that the root cause of the problem is not a biologically-based mental health condition, but a learning disability that even includes a disability in learning to pay attention.

In these cases, or if there is any doubt as to why a child or youth’s behaviour is so unacceptable that they have come to your attention, or to the attention of school officials, it is very important to look for root causes, and to determine whether there is a genuine mental health issue or whether other factors are causing the distress in the classroom.

Indeed, the goodness of fit is a real factor. Sometimes the distress is caused by advanced skills or development or even giftedness, especially in some areas but not others, and the child has no way to describe their boredom or frustration in the classroom, even if they don’t appear to be achieving the grades that would suggest domains of excellence.

In addition to checking their basic physical health, a neuropsychological and educational assessment will get at the root cause of the problem.

However, this is not enough.

It is very important to provide a remedy or solution to the root cause before any different outcome can be expected, even if the problem has been identified.

At the Vancouver Learning Centre an individually designed targeted program that addresses both the behavioural and emotional issues and the learning disabilities or differences emerges from the assessment.

Trained faculty who can use behaviour management strategies to develop attention and to improve academic outcome are available to the child or youth in a way that is transparent to the family and collaborative with the school and the medical professional, if necessary.

While learning these strategies is challenging and overcoming a student’s difficulties is not usually a quick fix, at the Vancouver Learning Centre we have had success with hundreds of students who have had a range of behaviour issues in the classroom.

A support system for the learner in the context of their school or family is put in place. Having this coaching, mentoring and targeted teaching and training is a most important component of these learners’ more successful outcomes.

Next Steps

  • If you would like to have answers as to what can be done, you can book a complimentary interview with Vancouver Learning Centre Director Andrew Taylor by telephone at 604-738-2277 or by e-mail.
  • If after you are fully informed through the interview and by reading this website you are interested in proceeding, Andrew will provide you with an assessment date to begin the process.
  • If you have further concerns or questions you can speak to VLC principal and senior psychologist, Dr. Geraldine Schwartz, either by telephone or by booking a further personal complimentary interview.
  • The assessment will provide a clear statement of the student’s cognitive and educational strengths and weaknesses along with a detailed program that is offered as a proposal. The program is delivered by the Vancouver Learning Centre’s highly qualified teaching faculty, one-to-one.


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