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Confused about what he is doing, what people expect or what people are saying:

You may notice this sign in your child in a couple of ways. First, your child has trouble getting the story straight when talking about things that happened. He might leave out important details or get things out of order. He might not have the time element right or misread the motives or behavior of people. The problem also can come up in a different way. Your child gets into trouble. He is surprised and does not understand. He may become angry, very upset, and then get into more trouble. It is like a confusing snowball. When it gets as big as it is going to get, your child has no idea what happened. He just figures he is in trouble again for who knows why. It is for sure he does not know.

This sign can cause your child to have problems at home and can cause him to have behavior problems at school. He also may have other school problems because he gets as confused in class as he does almost everywhere he goes. Many children who have trouble getting along have this problem.

This kind of difficulty is hard to diagnose and understand. Your child may have more problems in some situations than in others. It is hard to predict. It also can spill over into what he reads. He may get as confused about events in a book as in the real world.

Your first step is to see the problem when it is there. There are many other explanations that are quicker and easier. It is easier to chock the problem up to not paying attention, lying, not trying, and on and on. Youngsters do get confused; and for some, it is a serious learning problem.

An example may help. Jerry is fifteen and is suspended from school. The latest mess went like this. He had been doing well for almost three months. This was a long time for Jerry. It started one Thursday when he got into it with a teacher.

"She just cracked on me and gave me a detention." He was asked why she did this. "I don't know. She doesn't like children. She likes all the power."

What happened? "I wasn't doing anything. She just comes up and tells me I have to move."

Why did she want you to move? "Who knows? She just likes jerking children around."

A few minutes later, he went on. "I don't have to take it from her and told her so."

What happened then? "I'm suspended aren't I? What does it look like what happened?"

No, he is not covering up; he really does not understand what happened. Whenever your child has difficulties at school, gets into trouble, or messes something up, ask yourself and him if he may be getting confused. It is a real problem for some children and deserves the same attention as you give to any other learning disability.

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