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A Study of Young Adults with Learning and Attention Issues published on the National Center for Learning Disorders website (www.NCLD.org) found that young adults with LD and ADHD who were successful in a post high school experience shared a sense of connection to their community, beginning with participation in their school community.

Sometimes youngsters with LD or ADHD feel like outcasts in their school, especially in the early grades. They are embarrassed at being “pulled out” for services, and peers ask why they are leaving class. Students feel humiliated when they are “called out” in the classroom for being impulsive or daydreaming –  yet another way to feel “different” from peers! The Executive Summary of the study emphasizes the need for us, as parents, to find places where our students feel comfortable and are part of a community. Academics are important, but feeling comfortable interacting with others and having a sense of being “part of” a group is also vital to success.  

Finding an activity or group where your student feels comfortable is a matter of trial and error. For young children, it is helpful to introduce them to a variety of activities. Young children have the luxury of not having to be an expert at lacrosse or soccer to be on the neighborhood team. To prevent being overwhelmed try a, “one sport per season” rule.

Middle School students already have a sense of their interests and strengths. Encourage them to be involved in something, whether a youth group at your place of worship, a community service group, the set building team for the school play, or a sport. The same holds true in high school. The whole purpose of participation is for the student to have a sense of membership, engagement and belonging to a group. Within the group, he will develop friendships and a feeling of competence, both of which can be a challenge for our students with LD/ADHD.

Blogger Mary Ann Mulcahey, PhD, shares her expertise in assessment and diagnosis of learning disabilities and ADHD, and the social/emotional adjustment to those issues.

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