This sign is close to the end of the school and learning line for your child. He has quit. Children usually do not reach this point until high school but it can happen to younger children. They get failing grades, are punished, and often are suspended and then expelled. Along the way, they are likely to pass through juvenile court and often end up in group homes or institutions.
This sign is an outcome and not the original problem. How did it start? Usually it started as a learning problem the child should have gotten help with.
Is there no hope? There is if everyone working with the child understands two things. First, the underlying trouble is a long standing and serious learning problem. It needs treated.
Next, understand the child’s cooperating and trying to get along make little difference for him. When he was younger, he likely tried. By now, not bothering to try makes sense. How hard do you think you would try if you failed almost every day of your life?
Helping starts with being honest with a child. Say, “I think you have a learning problem. I want to try to help. Let me be up-front with you about this. If I were you, I would probably laugh at anyone who says she wants to help. You have heard that story before. Also, I don’t think I would be much interested in trying if I had your experiences with school and learning. I cannot give you any guarantee. I am just offering to try. Can we talk about it?”