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“Knowing your strengths and challenges.”


  • Discuss the characteristics of LD and/or ADHD which cause your child the most significant challenges.  Identify strategies to deal with each challenge area.


  • Help your child understand how to “mediate” their challenges and recognize that their challenges can be acknowledged but do not have to define them. For example, always make a list to mediate for short term memory, or always get the audio version of a book with the hard copy to mediate for a reading disorder.


  • Continue to encourage your child to identify “islands of competence” such as cooking or making Lego castles. Strategize on ways to extend the area of competence into other areas of your child’s life. For example, making a Lego model of the school or bringing cookies for the class might support new social interactions at school.


  • Assist your child in developing a vision of success based on their strengths.  Sometimes school can make our children feel like they are a round peg being pushed into a square hole.  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, are valued attributes. Help the school understand how to utilize and value your child’s strengths and special talents.


  • Schools use a deficit model of assessment of your child’s abilities. Constant reminders of deficits tends to shift our child’s self image toward their challenges rather than their strengths. It can even produce a well known phenomena called “learned helplessness”. Help shift your child’s focus from their deficits or areas of challenge by celebrating your child’s successes more often.  Be specific with your praise, such as, “I am so proud of you for memorizing that poem, and when you shared it with me, you seemed so confident and relaxed.” What you water grows, don’t water the weeds.


  • Your child may have varied and wide ranging interests and endeavors. They may even get halfway involved in an endeavor and then switch gears and off to something   It is typical to be excited about many things when you are young!  Help your child identify what they resonate with in each interest. If they choose to quit an interest, ask them what they learned from the endeavor and how they might use that information when they choose their next endeavor. It is okay to set an agreed upon time limit before your child can quit, to support a learning experience on persistence.


  • Your child seems to have a very focused enthusiasm for a limited number of interests.  Research shows that people who excel in an area of interest have spent over 10,000 hours in the pursuit of the endeavor.


  • Use the words “strength,” “challenge,” “not my strength,” and “special talents” to describe the behaviors of not only your child, but of all members of your family.


  • Help your child understand how to turn potential deficits into strengths.


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