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Math and Reading Trouble for a Child with ADHD

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: I have a nine-year-old son who is in third grade. He is having a really hard time learning his math and reading. He has ADHD. I am at my wit's end. I have tried everything to help him, and it seems nothing works. His teacher and I have talked and tried different things, and they haven't worked. Do you have any suggestions?

A: Some simple things work well in the classroom. Your son's teacher should seat him up front with his back to the class. He should be as far away from distractions such as doors, windows, and high traffic areas as possible. Plus, your son needs to have more opportunity than most students to move around during the day. It also helps to tape a copy of the daily schedule to an ADHD child's desk.

At home and school, your son will respond well to a predictable routine of things that are done at the same time every day. Have a regular morning schedule for getting up, eating, brushing teeth, and leaving home with school paraphernalia. Be sure to have a regular afternoon and homework routine, too. A checklist can make it easier for him to follow the routine. Plus, it is extremely important to teach him organizational skills.

You should work on building your son's attention span as it will pay dividends at school. Play simple games such as Parcheesi TM and UnoTM that require him to pay attention. As his attention span improves, try checkers and chess. It would also be wise to limit his television time as it does not require close attention.

Remember, children model their behavior on what their parents do. Are you always rushed? Do you really listen to people? You need to model attention paying skills. Having a relaxed evening meal in which every family member shares conversation and really listens is an excellent way to teach this important skill.

For more suggestions on how to help your child, visit and

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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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