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When your bright student’s academic performance doesn’t match their intelligence or ability, it’s natural to wonder why. There are a few common reasons why smart students struggle in school.

1. They have a hard time sitting still.

A lot of kids who struggle in the classroom are kinesthetic learners.

In other words, they learn by physical activities and hands-on experimentation rather than lecture and recall. Unfortunately, most classrooms aren’t equipped to accommodate these students.

Instead, they rely on long periods of sitting still at desks, paying attention to a teacher, and doing activities with low physical involvement. Kids who thrive with kinesthetic learning and struggle to sit still often miss out on important concepts. This often translates into poor performance on tests.

2. They struggle to pay attention for long periods of time.

Bright students who don’t do well in school sometimes struggle to pay attention to something for a long period of time. This tendency is often dismissed at home because the same students can play video games or build with Legos or draw for hours at a time.

It’s when they have to pay attention to something they consider tedious that they get into trouble. These students sometimes describe it like this:

“I let my brain take a break for a second and suddenly everyone has moved on to a different task and I have no clue what’s going on.”

3. They don’t finish tasks.

When we consider something to be easy, we have a tendency to mentally coast through the task.

For example, if your student is great at math, they may assume they know what to do and ignore what the teacher is telling them. They may miss important steps or vital information.

Or, they may come up with the right answer and fail to show their work.

Or they may answer only half of the question and move on without going back and answering the second half.

It’s not that they don’t have the ability, just that they get distracted and forget what they were doing or how to finish.

4. They do the work and don’t turn it in.

Inevitably, there is a student who does all of their work to perfection and simply doesn’t turn it in. It’s as if there is a black hole between their backpack and the teacher’s desk where completed work gets lost. Upon further investigation, you may find it at the bottom of their backpack, turned in without their name on it, or turned in to the wrong location.

5. They act without thinking.

All of us have impulsivity that can get us into trouble. But sometimes bright students act impulsively without even realizing it.

Maybe they respond to their neighbor’s request for help without realizing they should be listening to the teacher. Or perhaps they get out of their chair to sharpen their pencil, forgetting they needed to ask first.

Ultimately, this impulsivity can affect how well they pay attention to their teacher and their conduct in class.

If any of these examples sound familiar, you are not alone. More than 6.4 million students in the US have been diagnosed with some form of attention issue that affects their work in school.

If your bright student is struggling, your best move is to work with their teachers to help them achieve their highest potential. Together, you create accommodations at school and supportive measures at home to help their performance match their ability.

Neurofeedback is currently helping kids who struggle with

  • Decreased Focus & Attention
  • Impulsivity
  • Sensitivity to Light,¬†Sound or Smell
  • Racing & Unwanted Thoughts
  • Memory Loss
  • Ruminating Thoughts

Learn more about neurofeedback here.

*Sandstone Center for Neurofeedback does not diagnose medical conditions. Sandstone Center for Neurofeedback is a nonmedical, medication-free program for children and adults who struggle.

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