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Understanding LD and ADHD
Q: I have four children. My third child, who has a learning disorder and ADHD, has been taking medication for years now. He's 12 and only in the fifth grade with his 10-year-old brother. He's not getting any better. He's in programs at school that pull him out of his class for reading, language, and math. His self-esteem is very low. I try my best to help him do better in every way.
My new husband can't deal with my son not being able to follow simple directions or listen at school and at home. My husband tells me that my son is doing all of this on purpose because I don't discipline him enough. How do I make my husband understand that yelling and punishing a child with LD and ADHD only make the situation worse?
A: There are many books you can read together with your husband about learning disabilities and ADHD, but I've found that the quickest way to get someone to understand about these only too real problems is for him to experience these difficulties himself. You might want to borrow or buy the video How Difficult Can This Be? FAT City Workshop and watch it together with your husband. This video is available from many places including LD Online (http://www.ldonline.org). It is a simulation of what it feels like to have a learning disability and/or ADHD. People who have seen it many years ago have never forgotten it.
You might also want to contact your local branches of the Learning Disabilities Association (1-800-300-6710, http://www.ldanatl.org) or the International Dyslexia Association (1-800-ABCD123, http://www.interdys.org) to see when they have scheduled meetings for parents. It would be good for your husband to hear from other parents who are experiencing the same frustrations that he is.
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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.