Marathon Mentality: Addressing Dyslexia and ADHD at Every Age

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Tips on helping your child thrive in school and life

Key takeaways:

  • Early intervention and the commitment it requires are essential for both dyslexia and ADHD.
  • Academic software can help children with dyslexia learn to read by rebuilding neuro pathways.
  • It’s important to address the emotional and psychological effects of these learning differences. 
  • Children’s challenges will change as they get older – and they may improve – but the underlying issues usually don’t go away.
  • There are no quick fixes to overcoming schoolwork and homework struggles. A marathon mentality requires a long-term commitment but the results are rewarding. 
  • As children get older, they may need extra help with school work via specialized tutoring or a support center like The Learning Lab.

Children with dyslexia and ADHD are smart children that usually struggle in the traditional school setting. Unfortunately, there is no “quick fix” for children with these learning differences. Their needs will change as they get older, particularly when it comes to academics and social situations. Addressing these differences means having a “marathon mentality” that will help your child overcome learning barriers and excel academically and personally. 

What does a marathon mentality entail and how does it benefit a child with dyslexia or ADHD? A marathon mentality takes intense commitment and sticking to it is the only way children struggling with academics will get and stay ahead. We give several tips for parents on how they can help their child thrive in school and life.

Coping with dyslexia through the ages

Early intervention is essential to helping children with dyslexia and ADHD. Remember, a learning difference diagnosis does not mean your child lacks intelligence or will never learn to read. It simply means he or she may struggle with traditional teaching methods. 

And, that’s okay! As long as you understand that it takes an unwavering commitment to developing skills with the right teaching methods for your child, he or she can succeed. Several scientifically-based programs can help children with learning differences. They include specialized reading programs that follow the neuroscience of how the brain optimally learns to read and academic software at The Learning Lab

Programs include elements like:

  • Multi-sensory instruction that focuses on decoding words
  • Teaching decoding skills explicitly
  • Repetition and review of skills
  • Small group and individual instruction 
  • Right brain strategies to identify words by sight
  • Reading comprehension strategies that build visualization, metacognition, and thinking skills 

Again, the earlier this type of instruction can begin, the better. Gaining comprehension and being able to apply newly learned knowledge will take time. It will not happen overnight. 

You can also work with your child’s teachers to identify accommodations in school, including IEPs. Accommodations can include a variety of things, from extra time on tests to technology that aids learning, such as tablets, text-to-type tools, and audiobooks. 

Growing up with dyslexia or ADHD

As your child gets older – and academic pressure increases – it is beneficial to get expert support from a learning center that specializes in helping children with dyslexia and ADHD. The Learning Lab, with locations in Fort Lauderdale and Davie, offers the I3 lab (Intensive, Individualized Instruction) to close significant learning gaps and teach children with learning differences the way they learn.  

The Learning Lab also has a Homework Lab which is a small group homework management program that helps students manage homework and incomplete assignments. The Homework Lab program includes:

  • Reteaching challenging material
  • Help with organization, focus, and executive functioning skills
  • Test prep and study skills

If you regularly find lost projects and overdue assignments in your child’s backpack, it’s time to ask why. Kids with learning differences often get trapped in a never-ending cycle of stress related to not understanding school work and are more likely to be left behind because of it. Our Homework Lab breaks the cycle by teaching homework management skills like organization, planning, task and time management, and self-monitoring. We work in conjunction with teachers and administrators to provide seamless instruction as well 

Emotional and social support

Dyslexia and ADHD can lead to frustration, embarrassment, and self-esteem issues for your child. Children may feel isolated and anxious when it comes to reading. These feelings can become more intense as your child enters adolescence and his or her teen years. 

It’s important to be open and discuss your child’s feelings. You should also be sure to focus on his or her effort, triumphs, and accomplishments and not just their struggles. Remember the marathon mentality. It’s not about the individual struggles; it’s about the bigger picture and striving to win the marathon, not just an individual leg of the race. It’s like a marathon runner who trains for months and even years to run races. His or her success depends on a commitment to training which is the same case for your child. 

Coping with ADHD and dyslexia at every age 

Parenting a child with ADHD can be a challenge. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder makes it difficult to focus in school. On the other hand, children with ADHD can become hyper-focused on one particular activity to the exclusion of everything else. Your child might have trouble following directions on assignments or lack organization skills, which can affect academic progress. 

You might even have to deal with disruptive or defiant behavior. All of these behaviors can make it harder for your child to make friends, which leads to feelings of isolation, anxiety, and self-esteem issues. 

It’s important to seek help as early as possible. Talk to your child’s doctor for recommendations and possibly enlist a therapist if it may be beneficial. You can also seek help from The Learning Lab in Davie or Fort Lauderdale. We offer a variety of academic intervention programs, as well as the homework support mentioned above. We can effectively teach your child how to read, write, and build better organizational skills, as well as essential study skills. 

Growing up with ADHD and dyslexia 

Thankfully, most children develop the ability to self-regulate as they get older. Adolescents and teens with learning differences usually continue to struggle to keep up in school, but they generally have more self-control than young children. However, they might seem immature compared to their peers. 

At this age, there are three basic areas where teens with ADHD and dyslexia may continue to struggle:

  1. Academics – As schoolwork becomes more rigorous, your teen may struggle to stay organized and keep track of assignments. There may also still be issues with a lack of focus. 
  2. Social – Adolescents and teens with ADHD often have issues recognizing boundaries and personal space. They also have trouble reading social cues, which can make it difficult to maintain friendships. 
  3. Life at home – As a parent, you might become frustrated at your child’s inability to complete chores or other tasks at home. The thought of your teen getting behind the wheel of a car might make you incredibly anxious and you might worry about his or her ability to make safe choices. 

Add in the usual teen angst, coupled with hormonal changes, and you’re in for a wild ride as a parent. Teenagers experiencing these changes need the marathon mentality to overcome individual obstacles. They usually have a harder time managing their emotions or calming down when they’re upset. Parents can help by teaching them deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and other ways to relax. 

Getting help for your child

If your child struggles academically because of dyslexia or ADHD, it’s important to adopt a marathon mentality and get them help at a young age via tutoring or reading/writing. In addition to seeking out help early, you must adopt a marathon mentality, which requires commitment and consistency, like an exercise routine or a diet. If struggling students start getting learning support at a young age, they have a much better chance of overcoming challenges and coming out ahead. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a race.  

The Learning Lab locations in Ft. Lauderdale and Davie offer support for children, adolescents, and teens who need extra help in subjects like reading, writing, and math. Our goal is to prepare your child for a lifetime of learning while helping him/her close academic gaps. We are committed to helping your child learn and close academic gaps no matter how long it takes. 

The Learning Lab recently expanded our Davie location to provide enhanced learning support to families throughout Broward County, including Davie, Cooper City, Plantation, and Fort Lauderdale. 

Contact us today for more information.