Jun 24, 2008

Explaining ADHD & LD to Your Child

My son was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 6 in 2003. About six months later, in early 2004, he was diagnosed with three learning disabilities. After receiving his diagnoses, I wondered how to explain them to him. After all, he was only six at the time. I didn't want to be too technical with him, as I knew he wouldn't understand. I also wanted to make sure he didn't feel like he was inadequate as a person either. I wanted to emphasis that although he was "different" he was still special and had much to offer the world. I began researching how best to tell him about his new diagnoses.

I learned that while explaining ADHD and LD to him I needed to do the following:
  • Keep it simple. Use terms he could easily understand.
  • Keep the explanation upbeat and positive.
  • Let him know that he isn't alone. There are lots of other people in the world that have the same issues that he is facing.
  • Emphasize his strengths instead of his weaknesses.
  • Help him develop his strengths and discover his gifts.
  • Encourage him daily to build up his self esteem
  • Make sure he understood that ADHD and LD are not who he is, they are merely a part of who he is.

While researching, I also found several books that I utilized to help him understand ADHD and LD. I read these to him over a period of time of course, making sure each was age appropriate.

ADHD Related Books:

  • Cory Stories: A Kid's Book About Living With Adhd (ages 4 - 8)
  • Learning To Slow Down & Pay Attention: A Book for Kids About ADHD (ages 4 - 8)
  • Otto Learns about His Medicine: A Story about Medication for Children with ADHD (ages 4 - 8)
  • Shelley, the Hyperactive Turtle (ages 4 - 8)
  • Putting on the Brakes: Young People's Guide to Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ages 9 - 12) There is also an activity book to go along with this one.
  • The Survival Guide for Kids With ADD or ADHD (ages 9 - 12)

LD Related Books:

  • It's Called Dyslexia (ages 4 - 8)
  • The Alphabet War: A Story About Dyslexia (ages 4 - 8)
  • Many Ways to Learn: Young People's Guide to Learning Disabilities (ages 8 - 14)
  • The Survival Guide for Kids With LD (ages 9 - 12)
  • The School Survival Guide for Kids With LD (ages 9 - 12)
  • The Don't-Give-Up Kid and Learning Differences (ages 9 - 12)

I have found that these books create a dialog and encourage discussion between my son, my husband and myself. We continue to refer back to these books when our son has a question or if he just wants to freshen his memory.

*Please note that the links I have associated with each book title will take you to Amazon.com. However, I usually purchase my books from half.com. You have your choice of new or used books and the prices are excellent. Just wanted to let you know!

This article is also featured on Trusera.com!


  1. Great post! I am bookmarking it so that I can check these books out later.

  2. One of the most useful things I found personally was to read about what is considered normal for someone with a learning disability. I just wanted to be normal.


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