You know what you’re dealing with at home. You’ve discussed what your child’s teacher is managing at school. All the markers of an ADD/dyslexia combo are there: inattention, impulsiveness, the need to get up and move.
Learning is tough, and you child’s self-esteem is starting to waver.
How can you be there for your child? What help will be the most effective and supportive to help see him or her through?
Consider the following four ways to help your child manage his or her ADD and dyslexia:
1. Supply support consistently and unconditionally.
Your child wants and needs you to be all in, and up front regarding his or her situation.
- Talk to your child. Learn all you can about your child’s challenges, and be a source of accurate, positive feedback for him or her. Share what you know openly with your child. Tell him or her that ADD/dyslexia is a difference he or she was born with. Try to communicate that his or her issues are simply challenges he or she will learn to overcome, not something to be ashamed of.
- Encourage your child. Praise every effort. It is tough work for your child to remain still and attentive long enough to read a page, or wait for an entire set of instructions. Take special notice of his or her successes, especially those away from the classroom, and talk to him or her about the day’s struggles.
2. Embrace collaborative, creative education.
Use what you’ve learned about your child’s challenges to seek out educational allies and options. Do what you can to determine how your child’s school is prepared to meet your child’s needs.
Be a positive, communicative liaison between educators and your child. Maintain a cooperative attitude and gather your educational team.
Be willing to seek out new methods and technologies, like FastforWord or Interactive Metronome, to help effectively address your child’s learning differences.The primary goal is to help your child optimize his or her capabilities and meet learning goals.
3. Create a custom homework haven.
Helping your child incorporate a successful and supportive learning environment at home is vital. Plan a consistent time and place for homework each day. Build it into your home routine. Provide a clean, well-lit place for homework only. Help your child focus by minimizing the need to search for supplies. Model concentration and focus yourself, while performing your own work, bill paying, or housework nearby.
Encourage him or her to work independently. Set an expectation of independence by scheduling “work alone” time and breaks, to keep interruptions and broken focus to a minimum. Take the time to help your child break down larger assignments, help with spelling distractions, and clearly understand assignments. However, work with your child in ways that keep him or her responsible and accountable for the assignments.
4. Practice reading with your child.
Creatively show your child the joy and usefulness of reading in fun ways. Integrate reading into your home life and explorations in the world, so that reading becomes less of a chore. Try to expose your child to reading material in the following ways:
- Model a love of reading and writing. Journal or read, rather than watch TV or play on your phone.
- Fill a shelf with books and age-appropriate magazines in his or her room.
- Read aloud frequently, especially short stories and poems.
- Use waiting time at the doctor’s, dentist’s, or DMV as reading time.
- Slip reading into activities such as making shopping lists, leaving messages for family members, reading road signs, or cooking with recipes.
- Make your own books.
- Provide taped books or incorporate online, guided reading technologies like Reading Assistant.
- Consider non-drug alternatives such as Fast ForWord and Interactive Metronome for building attention, memory, processing and sequencing.