Helping a Child With ADHD Succeed in School

Know Your Child's Strengths and Limitations

Not only do the core symptoms create an extraordinary challenge in school, but 20 to 30 percent of children with ADHD also have a specific learning disability. Most of what they are asked to do each day in a traditional school -- being consistently attentive and concentrating on tasks despite an extremely distracting environment -- is very hard for them, creating a significant threat to their self-esteem. It is important to advocate for your child's special needs in school, but it's equally important to address more than just their weaknesses.

Determine and focus on your child's strengths, automatically removing the focus from their struggles and limitations. "The combination of identifying strengths, creating a chance to succeed, and fueling the process with optimism and excitement leads to success and happiness most of the time," say Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., and Peter S. Jensen, M.D., in Superparenting for ADD. What does your child enjoy? What is her strongest subject in school? Put your energy into developing that strength and build your child's self-esteem for future successes. Be sure to get the teacher on board. If your child is passionate about science, offer books on science topics for weekly reading assignments. If he's inspired to build with Legos, incorporate Legos in his math lesson. If she is a star athlete, give her every opportunity to exercise and train. The more you cater to your child's interests, the more he will focus on the lesson or assignment.

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