How to Spot a Student Who May Need Extra Support - Life.Church Leaders

How to Spot a Student Who May Need Extra Support

When you’re serving as a Switch leader, you might begin to feel there are some students who could use some extra support. Maybe they can’t focus during small group time. Maybe they ask to leave the main experience often and seem like they’re a bit stressed. Maybe a student suddenly acts out in a way that you find challenging—and later you find out that student is dealing with a significant need. Students with disabilities don’t have a particular look. Students with autism, severe ADHD, a history of neglect, or any other difference may have become experts at hiding their deep needs. How can we get better at spotting the students who need extra support? And how can we help them when we realize they do?

Let’s start with the second question first. Do you know what Switch Support is? Switch Support leaders are people who have been trained by their campus to offer extra support to any student who needs it for any reason. But wait—there’s more! Have you heard of peer mentors? These are students who have decided to step into the role of being a guide and friend to a student who might feel a bit lost, lonely, or overwhelmed without them.

So, when a student in your small group seems to be struggling to focus, fit in, feel safe, etc. a Switch Support leader or peer mentor may be exactly what they need to begin to thrive at Switch.

But, back to the first question. How do we easily spot the students who might benefit from Switch Support or a peer mentor?

The most important thing to remember? Just because a student has a visible or known difference or disability does not mean they will automatically need extra support. Many students with disabilities of all types interact well with their peers and the adult support that’s already in place at Switch (that’s you!).

Here are some signs a student may need help from a Switch Support leader or peer mentor.

What Should You Do?
When you see a student behaving in an unusual way, always ask if you can help! Here are some ways to do that well.

The longer you serve as a Switch leader, the more easily you’ll be able to spot the students who could use some extra support. A student may have an “off” night one week and an amazing week the next. You’ll soon develop intuition that will guide you on when it’s time to ask for additional help as needed. And God will surely give you wisdom when you ask Him for it!