When smart kids can’t keep up to their peers during PE and recess, they can feel upset about their physical performance. In the classroom, everyone wants to partner with the smart students. On the soccer field, however, they are the last to be picked for team play. Their fine motor and gross motor delays seem inconsistent with their highly developed cognitive awareness.

Even academically smart students can have difficulty with gross motor activities such as running, standing on a single limb, riding a bike and performing swimming and diving maneuvers despite receiving lessons. They can also have some fine motor concerns such as reduced printing and writing ability with report of hand pain and fatigue.

As a parent and teacher, it is important to ascertain the understanding for a child’s challengers. Importantly, appreciating the world from the child’s perspective becomes very important. During this developmental stage, children become highly aware of their performance in relationship to others. At this stage, siblings will tend to dispute and become somewhat argumentative, as they are keenly aware of their performance in relationship to others. What is fair and not fair, in their eyes, become an important source of conversation. It is important to realize that children can become excruciatingly aware of the discrepancy between their performance and their peers. Our human society is a social society and we are “hardwired” to respond to being different. Our species has thrived over the eons because of social compatibility. Not surprisingly, children will begin to develop behaviors to avoid scrutiny of others when their performance is different. Either the class clown, the noncompliant child, the sleepy child or the child that has multiple physical complaints are all a very real experience for these individuals.

For children to navigate their day between cognitive brilliance and physical inconsistencies, they must be constantly having to be alert. At the end of the day, when they tell you they are tired, they are not joking. Our first intervention will be to notice when “fatigue” sets in by way of reduced performance, lack of emotional control or somatic complaints. Perhaps you will begin to see a pattern whereby these events happened at a certain time of day or following a certain type of activity. Respectfully schedule in some downtime. Allow your child a preferred activity, including time with you. Our goal at this time is to channel the inevitable fatigue at times that are socially acceptable. We are not looking to reduce the frequency of fatigue spells, but the intensity of the poor behavior or the length of time. Your child may be experiencing meltdowns or other negative social behaviors. Merely, at this phase we are attempting to preempt their fatigued mind and body so that they have downtime without the need to overtly express his fatigue in a socially unacceptable manner.

Eventually, we will use these successes and articulate the “program”.

Eventually, your child will be able to identify for themselves when downtime is needed. Eventually, your child will be able to anticipate when they become fatigued and loses control emotionally or physically and preempt the circumstances.

Remember, never judge the fact that your child requires these down times, we want to teach them how to navigate and self-regulate because of inevitable fatigue.

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