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Focusing on Strengths


  • Discuss the broader concept of intelligence with your child. Intelligence is not limited to pencil and paper tasks.  Help them identify the many areas where they have exceptional intelligence. These may include art, music, using a computer, or the ability to build things.


  • Continue to encourage your child to identify “islands of competence”, such as music, art, social skills, cooking, etc.  Once competencies are identified continue to develop them in a purposeful way.  Most likely, one of these interests or abilities holds the key which will open doors to the adult workplace.


  • Assist your child in developing a vision of adulthood that is far more positive than their perception of childhood.  Childhood, in our society, is quite confining.  Every child has the same full time job – school.  The adult workplace is so incredibly different.  Adults actually have the opportunity to pursue their interests and find a “goodness of fit” where their talents, not their weaknesses, can be exploited.


  • Encourage your child to develop their wonderful leadership skills.  This can be achieved through organizations such as Scouts and other youth clubs or through service work.


  • Your child evidences an incredible spirit of caring.  Encourage them to volunteer in an area of interest.  The local food bank, veterinarian’s office, hospital, day care center, after-school program or retirement home are but a few possibilities.  Walk for Hunger, March of Dimes, and Adopt-a-Highway are other ways to express and develop this role of care-giver.


  • Help shift your child’s focus from their failures or areas of weakness by celebrating your child’s successes more often.  Be prepared to praise for effort as well as result.


  • Especially in the academic setting, seek to minimize the consequences or cost of failure, rather look at failure as a learning experience.   Introduce the concept of “failing forward” or “reboot”. Have the discussion regarding the experience as a learning experience and work together to build a plan on how to address similar situations in the future.


  • Your child appears to be a risk-taker by nature.  This can be a real asset in the adult world.  Encourage and provide positive channels for this risk-taking behavior.  Adventure activities are one positive way to channel this energy.


  • Performance inconsistency from your child is a part of the LD / ADHD profile.  Do not beat them up by “throwing up” those good days to them but instead using their successes as encouragement.  Draw on their successes at SOAR in this manner.


  • Ensure your child recognizes some of the intricacies of being left handed.  Being left handed has real benefit in some sports such as baseball and tennis.  Likewise, left handedness can often point to unique creativity and imagination.  We live in a world engineered for the right-handed majority.  Composition books are spiraled on the left side for that reason.  Can openers, cars, and most everything else mechanical is geared for the “righties”.  Products engineered for left handed individuals are available.  Sometimes it is just the awareness of these differences which is critical.


For more information or targeted strategies regarding your child’s specific strengths and challenges contact our Family Support Coordinator, Dr. Liz Simpson (Liz@soarnc.org).