What kind of childrearing practices work out best for ADD/dyslexia kids?

<p>What doesn't work is a home that is disorganized with 2 parents working and no energy left over for the child. Any tips on things that have worked to produce a child who doesn't feel inadequate due to having ADD or dyslexia? A teacher I knew with a daughter who had severe anxiety problems told me her husband encouraged their D all the time while they practiced for upcoming soccer games, saying "you can do it", and that positive message resulted in soccer goals made AND classroom success. The teacher said her daughter reacts to negative comments from others by working harder to prove that 'Yes, I can do that!'. Now that's successful parenting. Any ideas from you parents who have negotiated the pitfalls and have 'can-do' kids with ADD and dyslexia diagnoses? I have a 2 year old in mind who may have inherited one or both of these conditions (each parent has one), and I would like to pass the advice along.</p>

<p>Many thanks!</p>

<p>The book "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene puts forward his approach to child rearing called collaborative parenting. It really is a great book and has changed the way I deal with both of my kids. One ADHD and one typical.</p>

<p>We didn't catch it until age 7 or so with the dyslexic one and age 15 with the ADHD kid, so I can't comment on two year olds. But, the dyslexic was obviously gifted and wanted to be read to constantly. I read him the entire Lord of the Rings Series when he was in first grade. I bought lots of Usborne books about world history and read them to him. His mom did art with him. I remember pushing him on the swing at the playground in Harvard Square each week and giving him exceedingly more complex explanations of the American revolution, discussing democracy, taxes, elections, etc. The other parents would look at me like a mutant dad trying to give him an advantage over their kids in getting into some private school. But, that kind of stimulation was what he needed. I gave him hard math problems to solve. My son believed that he was the smartest kid in the class and pretended to read for 3 years because he could pretty much remember anything he'd heard. When he was diagnosed, the teacher said to him, you are still the top kid in the class in math and science, but reading is going to be a challenge for you. You'll learn it but you'll have to work hard. </p>

<p>I told him that he'd always have to work harder than everyone else. Well, he took it all in. While he is generally bright, his true gift is in what I'd call strategic reasoning. And, he applied this along with my coaching to performing in school and getting into college. That is, given that reading/writing energy is limited, how am I going to manage things to do well. Midway through his sophomore year (or was it freshman year), he told the teachers and us at his team meeting that he had decided to try for an A+ in every course in the first quarter (which he'd more or less done). He said, "I try to prove to the teachers that I can succeed on their turf and then I will ask them to let me succeed on mine." You could see jaws dropping in the room, but it worked. </p>

<p>It is a much, much longer story, but we set up a partial homeschooling program for him in HS, but he graduated HS with a 3.98 GPA unweighted and very high SAT and ACT scores and got into a number of schools including Ivies and finished his freshman year at one of the top-ranked LACs, had fun, didn't kill himself and he won some kind of prize for academic performance.</p>

<p>I talked with him as an adult from early ages and talked with him about all of the negotiations with the school system (he attended both public and private). By the end, he was doing most of the negotiations. A neuropsychologist who tested him over the years said that he had never tested a kid who clearly felt he could change the environment to match his needs. The Superintendent of Schools actually wrote one of his recommendations as she'd seen him advocate with her and, in effect, get her to overrule the head of the HS English department. So, he advocates well and has continued that in college. </p>

<p>The ADHD one had more serious medical problems that took precedence but when we figured it out, she's been improving steadily and gaining confidence. That sounds funny because she got into the hardest to get into private school in the Boston area for middle school and then a very competitive private HS before we'd done the diagnosis, but she never performed at the level one would expect. She has quite a high IQ also, but it did not help her confidence to follow an exceedingly bright and self-confident brother. She would never have been interested in the political and economic discussion of the American Revolution I was having with my son at ages 3 through 5, and she wouldn't have been able to sit still for it at age 10. For her, lots of exercise, Ritalin, confidence-boosting, help with executive function. When she was younger, we encouraged her to follow an interest in yoga and she spend a few summers at a camp organized by an ashram. It is calming for her (and as an added side benefit, she can put do a headstand and then put her feet on her shoulders). I'm angling for meditation as well and she's thinking of getting trained as a yoga instructor in her gap year (along with getting trained as an EMT, a swimming instructor to go along wither life guard certification, and traveling in Asia). She's a joyful kid and a pleasure to be around. And, she is really maturing and planning and academic improvement are coming with it.</p>

<p>I hope my ramblings have been helpful to you, but our experiences may not help if the kids are very different as my one big takeaway is that what you do has to work with the individual kid.</p>

<p>For what it is worth, ShawWife read The Explosive Child, which seemed very good, but for whatever reason it didn't seem to help us that much. I think what works is pretty specific to the personality and style of the child.</p>

<p>Wow, Shawbridge. How kind of you to share your stories. It sounds like you didn't miss too many 'teachable moments' with your kids. I'm printing your comments out for the family I have in mind with the 2 yr old. I teach preschool, and I can think of a few obviously gifted kids in my class who could handle discussions about the American Revolution (what a great town to do that in--Boston!), but I doubt this particular child would have a clue if she heard those stories. Nonetheless, your energy and suggestions to watch the child and adapt to what you see come thru loud and clear, and are the best way to raise any child, but esp one with a possible learning problem.</p>

<p>Thanks so much for responding with your experiences, and please, keep answering questions. You have a lot of wisdom, gained through living and doing, to impart, and I hope you keep on doing it!</p>

<p>thanks, downtimer. There used to be a website like this called Special</a> Education | GreatSchools which was for the parents of kids with learning disabilities and I got a tremendous amount of information from it and posted a number of times in more detail about my experiences there. It got taken over by GreatSchools</a> - Public and Private School Ratings, Reviews and Parent Community, which was going to archive all of the schwablearning posts. I just went over there and it seems that they have some but not others, and almost none of my old posts. (The only post from me is my final one: Thanks</a> to the many Schwabbies who've been a big help and thanks to the Schwab Foundation - SchwabLearning.org Parent to Parent Message Board Archive). There is also another site called millermom (I think this is Learning</a> Disabilities (LDs), ADHD and Education Support, The<em>SAFE</em>Site - Home) and has a number of the same people who were on the schwablearning site.</p>

<p>With the first kid, we were blessed with a kid who is incredibly determined and his self-narrative if "Triumph over Adversity." With the second one, confidence has been a long time in coming, but she came into my study today ecstatic after getting a 35 on a practice ACT reading section -- that was her weakest area the first time she took a practice test.</p>

<p>One last thing. You can find a lot of my posts on schwablearning if you google shawbridge and dyslexic or shawbridge and gifted/ld or other similar keywords.</p>

<p>I liked the book "All Kinds of Minds" by Mel Levine. His point is that parents and teachers need to understand what works for different kids to make them successful.
In general, all kids need enough sleep, good food, friends, fun, and attention from their family. Over the years, I usually found when one of those pillars was out of balance, everything else suffered.</p>