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ADD and Self-Expression
Q: My son is repeating first grade this year. He was diagnosed with ADD last November, and has been on Ritalin since January. He has difficulty expressing himself, whether it's his feelings or a description of something. This affects his schoolwork, since he must break down stories and write book reports. How can I help him express himself better and with more ease? He seems to struggle with finding the words. Could this be part of ADD?
A: Many children with ADD have other learning problems, too. Has your son been given a complete psychoeducational evaluation by his school district in addition to the private evaluation for ADD? You are entitled to a free evaluation if you ask for one or you can have one done privately.
The problems you are describing sound like they could be indicative of a language-based learning disability. The earlier you get appropriate treatment for this, the better chance your son will have for success in school. An excellent resource for parents about how they can help their young children in school is Straight Talk About Reading: How Parents Can Make a Difference During the Early Years by Susan Hall and Louisa Moats.
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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.