Beyond School: How Parents Can Help

Tips for parents to help their adopted children cope with a learning disability.

Tips for parents to help their adopted children cope with a learning disability.

Find teaching moments. Many household tasks require skills your child may need to work on. Cooking involves reading, counting, and following instructions in a sequence. Folding laundry requires fine-motor and sorting skills.

Sharpen social skills. Teach your child the rules of social behavior: How to take turns speaking, making eye contact, how to respect personal space. Focus on interpreting facial expressions and body language and practice how to respond.

Read together. Let your child choose the book and take turns reading, discussing as you go. Subscribe to magazines related to your child’s interests, such as Sports Illustrated for Kids or National Geographic World. If reading is too difficult, share an audio book or educational video.

Choose a suitable sport. If hand-eye coordination is a problem, choose activities that involve gross motor skills—swimming, soccer, track. Children with ADHD do best in sports that feature individual instruction and minimize distraction, including swimming, diving, wrestling, tennis, and martial arts.

Modify popular games. Board games teach kids to follow rules, pay attention to detail, plan strategy, and deal with frustration. Simplify rules so your child can stick with it. Gradually add more detail, increasing the skills to be mastered.

Enlist allies. Inform your child’s soccer coach, girl-scout leader, or religious school teacher about her learning problems. Teach them how she learns best, and help them plan ways to build on her strengths.

Model the art of making mistakes. Show that you accept your own mistakes with good humor and use them to find new solutions.

Be an emotional pillar. Let your child know that she can rely on you to be a good listener, to empathize with frustrations, and to celebrate good efforts as well as actual success.


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