Parents are always looking for hints that will
make learning easier for their child. Here are some tips that LDA
parents have learned from one another over the years.
- Provide structure as best as possible within your family. Structuring
the entire family along with your LD/ADD child will provide the
child with the guidance he needs. An example: arise at 7 a.m.,
dress by 7:15 a.m., bed made by 7:30 a.m., teeth and hair done
by 7:40 a.m., breakfast done by 8:00 a.m., and out the door by
8:05 a.m. for the bus at 8:15 a.m. Book bags, homework from the
night before should be by the front door.
- Do not allow your child to gain control of any situation. You
are to structure the tasks. If he throws a "fit" when
given responsibilities (for age), then he should be told, "When
you are finished you may start with your responsibilities."
- List jobs appropriate for age. Start with short work periods,
i.e., 10-20 minutes in length. Increase the time as his/her interest
grows. Compliment on the job done. Try very hard not to redo it.
If the bed is not made the way you would have done it, then he
did it the way he knew best. Turn it into a teaching lesson and
say, "I like the way you tried your best to make your bed,
especially how you pulled the bed spread up and tucked it in."
- Color code drawers and hangers in his room. For example, red
hangers for shirts, drawers with the red dot for underwear. Then
make a chart so they can follow the colors and hang it on his
- Put a chart with words and pictures in the bathroom for times
and chores. An example would be brushing his teeth with toothpaste
(be explicit) at 7:30.
- Always be prepared to redirect the child. Never take for granted
that the child remembers, but try not to hang over him while he
is doing the responsibility. Present the task in short directions
and have the child repeat them.
- Make sure you have facial contact with the child when communicating
- Allow sufficient time for the child to process and respond to
the given task. Remember to give one step at a time.
- Give multiple forms of instructions, i.e., visual, auditory,
written (charts), tactile.
- Make sure your child sits in the most advantageous seat in the
classroom, i.e., if the teacher talks with her back to the child,
poor instructions will take place.
- Alert the child to important information, i.e., this is important
please listen carefully.
Visual and Visual Motor
- Make a window in a cardboard and have the child track words
through this window.
- Allow the child to point to the words.
- Underline important concepts.
- For directionality, use green line to start on the left side
and a red dot to stop on the right side.
- Visual sensitivity may work well with yellow paper.
- Encourage the child to memorize and recite the material.
- Have realistic expectations of the child's handwriting and neatness
and do not demand speed. Consider a note taker for the older child.
- Ask for alternative test methods for the child, i.e., having
the student answering orally, highlighting instead of writing
- Limit copying from the board.
Language - Expressive
- Encourage letter writing to friends, relatives. Have decorative
paper or stationary with their name on it to help attract the
- Keep a daily journal with your child. Have them write feelings
or happenings to you and you write back the next day. Let them
know that this is a special project between the two of you (also
helps to promote relationships!!).
- Have the child relate daily activities. Encourage complete sentences
- Have fun. Do a "nonsense" story. Make up the first
sentence and have the child do the next. Laughter encouraged!!
(Also promotes self esteem!!)
- Use puppets to act out stories. Create your own plot. Also use
puppets to have the child talk about something that happened during
the day that he might have trouble communicating to you.
Language - Receptive
- Go for walks and trips. Name trees, flowers, and animals to
- Reading to the child helps with receptive language. Ask what,
when, and where questions about the story.
- Read a story and ask the child to draw a picture of the story.
Draw a picture and have the child tell a story about the picture.
- Always have the child repeat directions back to you.
- Explain words and phrases that have hidden meanings (idioms,
- Paraphrase using simple language.
FOR PARENTS ONLY
Raising a special child takes 180% of parenting. Often a spouse
or other sibs feel left out. Consider the following:
- Family Reward Chart. List several special things to do. When
a reward is due, have the LD/ADD child pick from that list. (It
could be as simple as a trip to the park.) When the family goes
or does the special event, others in the family can compliment
the special child because they are all rewarded. (Builds self
- Try to maintain family dinners as much as possible. Each one
should tell what happened during the day.
- Mom and Dad need to support one another. If one has given a
rule or punishment, the other should support and enforce what
has been said. NEVER allow the child to come between you and your
spouse. If you disagree with what has been done, do it later when
the child is not around.
- Maintain your relationship with your spouse. Make a date with
your spouse at least one time per month. Get a sitter and get
away, even if it's for a walk in the park or to McDonald's for
a shake and a hamburger. So much energy is placed working with
the child, marriages can falter. By setting aside special time,
communication can remain open and marriages can be made stronger.
After your children are grown and gone, your relationship with
your spouse will be sound.
The above are only a few tips that help in raising an LD/ADD
child. Your local LDA parent group can often offer more tips and
most importantly, offer you parental support that you need.