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Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 771
Experience:  Specializing in mental health counseling
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Does my child need an evaluation or treatment? He is very shy

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Does my child need an evaluation or treatment? He is very shy and somewhat afraid of failure, afraid of doing things wrong, afraid that he might be laugh at or does things differently. He has a hard time focusing on things especially in school if it does not interest him. He always think of things that he is passionate and interesting to him. If it interest him, he can remember and do research about the subject. His interest right now is basketball, maps, airports, landmarks. I noticed that he has good memory of things. But he shots down when he is not interested. He is active, gets enough sleep, likes to eat. Ihope this helps in your evaluation. Thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 3 years ago.
Hello, I'm Alicia. Thanks for your question, I'm happy to help you today. I have extensive experience evaluating and counseling children and adolescents, so I believe I can help you with this issue.

If your son is shy, it doesn't necessarily mean that he needs an evaluation. There are lots of different temperaments and personality types - some children are more outgoing and prefer to be around lots of people, enjoy highly stimulating environments, while others prefer to keep to themselves and enjoy limited social interaction - preferring to have one or two close friends, for example. However, if he's having an excessive fear of failure and fears criticism to the point where it's starting to interfere with his ability to function, then an evaluation with a child psychologist can help clarify exactly what is going on.

Based on what you've said here, it sounds to me like he may be what's referred to as a "Highly Sensitive Child." High sensitivity usually indicates high intelligence and a compassionate, intuitive nature. They are usually sensitive to the feelings of others, almost to a fault - they can pick up on the way others are thinking and feeling before the other person voices their feelings and thoughts. It sounds to me like your son is very bright, has a good memory - I am assuming he does well in school - and isn't showing any signs of clinical impairment. You say he sleeps well, eats well and is active, and that he has a lot of interests - so it doesn't seem that there is a real mental health or behavioral issue going on.

I would suggest that you review this information:
There is an online questionnaire that you can complete to see if your son fits the criteria for high sensitivity. There's also a book by Elaine Aron, a psychologist who pioneered research on high sensitivity, called "The Highly Sensitive Child" that you might be interested in reading.

And you might also find this article helpful:
as it has a lot of tips and suggestions for parents of highly sensitive children.

However, the only real way to know for sure if this is the case or if there are other problems or issues going on with your son is to have an evaluation by a child psychologist. You might wish to speak to the school social worker or school psychologist, as well as your son's teacher, to discuss your concerns and to see if they can provide any additional insight. If you need a referral to a child psychologist, you can find someone in your area through this website:

I hope this helps, and I wish you luck. Please let me know if you have any further questions or need additional assistance. Best wishes.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
the problem is that in school he received good grades with subjects that he is interested in while in subjects like math and reading he got a low grade, i noticed that if the exams are long it bores him and the tendency is he shots down do not bother to finsh the exams. he got a very high grade in spelling which involves memory. now that its supper, his focus is in sports and he always have a hard time returning his focus to academics, and always think of his experiences during summer vacation. he is 8, 3rd grade this school year, he is moving to a new school and they evaluated him and suggested to do 2nd grade again and this bothers me.

Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 3 years ago.
Hi again,

I can see why this would concern you - but I don't think the problem here is intelligence - your son is obviously very bright - but like many children, he has difficulty focusing on subjects that don't hold his interest.I do still think that he may be highly sensitive. But I think if he is experiencing academic difficulty to the point where he may have to repeat 2nd grade, then there may be another potential problem going on. I can't say for sure without meeting your son in person, and he would need to have an in-person evaluation to determine exactly what is going on and why he seems to be suffering from attention difficulties and problems focusing in certain subjects, but it is also possible that he is suffering from ADD. It's an over-diagnosed disorder, in my opinion, but it's something you should be aware of. Children with ADD often have no problem achieving high marks in subjects they are interested in, while they suffer in the subjects that do not hold their interest because they aren't able to focus. And it's not so unusual that he does well in spelling, because many children with attention problems actually have excellent memories. But it's very difficult to say exactly what is causing this problem, so I would recommend that you think about bringing him to have an evaluation by a child psychologist, just for your own peace of mind. If there is an underlying problem, then certain treatments can help (therapy, medication, although there are many other possibilities that do not need to involve medication as well.) You might also want to review this information for your own knowledge - but beware of doing too much reading on the internet without consulting someone in person:

Getting him in for an evaluation during the summer break may help to uncover what's going on with him before the next school year starts, so that would be my advice at this point. I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any more questions or want to discuss this further.
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 771
Experience: Specializing in mental health counseling
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