Do’s and Don’ts of Disciplining a Child with ADHD or LD

Best  Rules  for  Parents  to  Follow

Most parents that have a child with LD or ADHD realize that their child has a condition that has a neurological cause.  The neurological condition occurs while still in the womb.  One of the problems that the parents have to deal with is behavioral issues. So, what’s a parent to do who is exasperated with broken rules and emotional outburst?

Dr. Domeena Renshaw’s book, The Hyperactive Child, listed 18 discipline suggestions for the child with ADHD.  I picked 9 of them to share with you, weather your child has ADHD, LD, or both.

  1. Be consistent in carrying out the rules for your household.
  2. Resist loud anger. Keep your voice low and controlled.
  3. Avoid constant “Stop”, Don’t, and “No”!
  4. Observe pre-explosive warnings. Quietly intervene by distracting him or her or discussing the conflict calmly.
  5. Change the environment when notice anxiety building. Take a break-his or her room or outside for a while.
  6. Restrict playmates to one or two at a time. Explain your rules to the playmate and briefly tell the other parent your reasons.
  7. Do not overindulge your child. His condition of the nervous system is manageable.
  8. Maintain open dialog with his or her teacher. Share your techniques and be open to the teacher’s.
  9. Follow the “Do one thing at a time” rule. E.g., one toy, one activity, one chore etc.  Multiple stimuli prevent concentration on the primary task.

Children feel safe with rules.  They need to know what the rules are and what the consequences are for breaking them.  The greatest rule for all households is found in God’s Word:

This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.”  ~ John 15: 13

And, Love Never Fails!!!  ~ I Corinthians 13: 8

God bless your parenting journey!

When It’s a Reading Disability

The largest numbers when it comes to learning disabilities, is when it is a reading disability.

Approximately 80% of children with LD are diagnosed with a reading disability. If your child is a kindergartener, and struggling with reading, that does not mean he or she has LD.  Children at this age show much variability at learning to read. But, if your child is still greatly struggling by first grade, then an educational screening is in order.  Early intervention is crucial.  If your child displays many of the following reading symptoms, then ask for an evaluation.

  • Reversal of letters, whole words and numerals, (after the age of seven)
  • Naming alphabet letters in sequence or counting numbers in order
  • Frequent inability to distinguish between sounds within words
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Frequently loses place while reading aloud
  • Extremely slow reading
  • Little concept of reading for meaning

Don’t wait until third or fourth grade for a diagnosis.  Early intervention is the key to success.

How to Handle Homework

By now, most schools have sent out first grading period progress reports.  For many students with LD and ADHD, supervision of homework is extra important to guarantee success.  Here are some homework tips that can help change poor progress reports into good progress reports!

  • Discuss with the teacher(s), a plan that would include you, the parent to sign off that homework was completed. (Each assignment)
  • Utilize school website of homework assignments, if available.
  • Keep an extra set of books at home. (No more, “left my book at school!”)
  • Arrange with the teacher, for short-term, to check or have aide check to make sure that he/she has homework assignment and materials needed. He/she can’t be “baby-sat” forever, so that is why it needs to be short-term.
  • If your child is experiencing daily, high stress over homework, discuss with teacher: shorter assignments or extra day (s) time to finish if necessary.
  • All of the above can be written into your child’s IEP, if under an IEP. If, no IEP, the school should still work with the parent on any of these suggestions.

These are just a few well known strategies.  If you have more suggestions, feel free to share with us.  A parent and a child will be glad you did!


The Homework Scene

Beating the Homework Blues ~ Five Tips

1)   Expand knowledge:  your child is not going to grow as an independent learner if all that is required of him or her is to “answer” homework questions in workbooks or textbooks.   Expand your child’s knowledge on different subjects by discussing the content of the subject matter or looking up more information on the Internet.

2)   Give directions one at a time or step by step.  Instruct your child to finish one assignment before going to the next one.

3)   Foster organizational skills:  when homework is finished-place into notebook/book bag and set by door, ready to grab when leaving for school.

4)    Set boundaries:  all children can become manipulative.  And children with LD or ADHD can become masters at it, as a defense mechanism.   Hold your ground on your expectations for homework time.  Your child needs structure and consistency.

5)   Praise good efforts and good attitudes:  now and then reward in some tangible way.

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.   ~ Proverbs 22: 6



Ten Tips

I am a fan of Marydee Sklar-here’s a copy of her tips for back to school.

10 Back to School Tips for Executive Function Challenged Students

Oh August! It is still summer BUT school looms in the not-too-distant horizon. For students with executive function challenges (and their parents!) there can be an underlying anxiety about facing a new school year, especially if last year was filled with the painful memories of struggling to get things done in a timely manner.

A few years ago, I was inspired to put together my own personal list of back to school tips. I am sharing it again because it is quite timeless when it comes to getting kids ready for the new school year; I just wish I’d been smart enough to create this list back when my kids were in school! My dear son never did figure out how to open his middle school locker.

These tips are designed to calm the brain and make the whole transition from summer to school a whole lot easier. I hope you find them helpful! Plus, I added a special bonus tip this year!

How to Help Your Executive Function Challenged Student Get Ready for School

  1. Clothing: Before you buy new school clothes, take two grocery bags into your child’s room. With their help, fill the bag with clothes they no longer wear or don’t like anymore. Fewer options in the closet and drawers will make choosing what to wear for school easier and faster – this goes for parents too!
  2. Sleep: Start establishing routine sleep patterns before school starts. Do this little by little, going to bed and getting up 10-15 minutes earlier each day or two until your child is getting nine hours of sleep per night prior to the first day of school. This will help their body adjust to the school hours and be ready for school each morning with less effort.
  3. Binder: When shopping for binders, let your child take some ownership by letting them choose colors for the items. Get a clear plastic folder for transporting papers to and from school and put this in the very front of the binder. Make sure that you get pocket dividers for each subject and label them ahead of time. We have a list of recommended products to support executive functions on our Cool Tools Page.
  4. New School: Get familiar with classroom locations. Visit the school and pick up the floor plan and your child’s class schedule. Find out how much time is allowed for transitions between classes, and have your child practice going room to room, timing how long it will actually take. Your child may need to hustle! Clip the floor plan of the building to the outside of the binder for that first week.
  5. Lockers: If your child is using a locker for the first time, visit the school to determine the type of lock required. Purchase a combination lock that matches the locker model and help your student practice opening such a lock. It is easier and MUCH less stressful to practice at home than in a crowded school hallway! Check out this helpful video tutorial from Understood: How to Help your Child Get Comfortable with a Combination Lock.
  6. Evening routine: Make mornings simpler by asking your student to do some tasks the night before. Choose clothes, shoes and jackets and lay them out, put all schoolwork into the clear return folder in the binder, put the binder into their backpacks, then the backpack next to the door. For lunches, put nonperishable items together. Create a checklist for this routine and have each of your children time just how long these tasks take to complete. This will show the time saved from sleepy mornings!
  7. Reading: What is the status of your student’s assigned summer reading? If they haven’t been reading, set up your home environment to help them start. Designate a “no tech time” each day where everyone is tech free. (They WILL survive! It is really hard to be motivated to read when everyone else in the family is playing with a device.) If your child is a slow reader, get him or her an audiobook of the required text. I also suggest that you read the book yourself so you can discuss it at dinner. Go online for discussion questions for the book.
  8. Math: Warm up those math facts and concepts that have disappeared over the summer. Set up the home environment to review. There are lots of math practice apps available. Kahn is great to review math skills.
  9. After school schedule: Help your child see how their after school commitments fit with homework time and “lights out” time. How much time is really available for homework? Post this information in sight.
  10. Calendars: On a wall in your home, post enough monthly calendars in a row to cover the first grading period. Have your child write all exams, quizzes and project deadlines on the family calendar. Have your student cross off each day so she can “see” how the deadlines are getting closer.
  11. Planner for School: Look for a planner that focuses on the calendar view of a month rather than the week. The month view enables students to have a picture of the future beyond just a week, which is critical for those long-term projects. I encourage you to check out our new Set Up Success Student planner with versions for middle school/high school and college.

I designed it to support development of the executive function skills of time management and daily planning. It helps with transporting papers to and from school too! This planner comes with a video tutorial full of tips to make a planner useful and used. (We don’t have many left, so get yours soon if you need one!)

The steps you take in August can make the rest of the year go SO much better.

Little by little… Marydee



Red Flag Alerts

Summer time is a good time for parents of children that struggle in school, to seriously consider whether to have their child evaluated for specific learning disabilities (LD).  If you have vacillated back and forth about moving forward with testing, then maybe it is time to really examine the “red flags” that have been haunting you over the past year or even years.

The mistake many parents make is to count the red flags. (Log on to for comprehensive lists of age related LD symptoms.) There are long lists of “LD” symptoms to ponder, but before jumping to conclusions, it is important to apply the FID Formula.  If your child’s symptoms meet the criteria of FID, then, by all means, seek diagnostic testing.  Here’s the FID criteria:

FFrequency of symptoms: the more frequent the symptoms occur, the more likely the indication of a leaning problem; also, look to see if symptoms occur in more than one setting, e.g., at home as well as at school. And or in social or recreational areas.

I…Intensity of symptoms:  ask these questions: “Is learning affected to a significant degree? Are grades failing consistently?  Do high frustration levels consistently rise when doing school related work?”

DDuration of symptoms:  symptoms continue past a month or two and intervention strategies have failed to help much or not at all.

My prayer for you today:

Dear Lord, there are many parents out there not knowing where or when to test for LD.  Please give them your guidance as they seek the right avenues for getting the help their precious child deserves. 

“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble.”  ~ Nahum 1:7

Parents Want to Know…What is LD?

Here’s the formal definition…does it describe your child?

 Definition of “Learning Disability”

“Learning Disability” is not a specific term; it is a category containing many specific disabilities, all of which cause learning to be difficult. The following definition of “learning disability” is used for legislative, financial, and educational purposes only. It is not a definition of dyslexia, which is one specific learning disability.

The term “learning disability” means a disorder in one or more of the basic processes involved in understanding spoken or written language. It may show up as a problem in listening, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, or spelling or in a person’s ability to do math, despite at least average intelligence.

The term does not include children who have learning problems which are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or physical handicaps, or mental retardation, or emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

 ~ From Bright Solutions for Dyslexia,

  Accessed 7/3/18