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Study reveals secrets to success for kids with learning and attention issues

Studying helpOne of the keys to success for a child with learning and attention issues — such as ADHD — is support at home where parents understand the issues and can help, according to a study released by the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

Titled “Student Voices: A Study of Young Adults with Learning and Attention Issues,” the goal was to gather firsthand information from young adults and determine what factors had the greatest impact on them during the transition after high school.

More than 1,200 young adults with learning and attention issues were interviewed for the study.

“Looking back at their years in middle school and high school, they told us how they got where they are now, one to two years post high school,” said James H. Wendorf, executive director of the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

According to the study, young adults with learning and attention issues fell into three groups: those who struggle, those who cope and those who thrive. The young adults who were thriving had three shared experiences: a supportive home life, a strong connection to friends and community, and a strong sense of self-confidence. Those with a supportive home life said their parents or caregivers made them feel that they would be successful, understood their learning and attention issues, and were able to help them, according to the study.

Those thriving also said they felt a sense of belonging to their school community, had relative ease with social issues and were comfortable taking the first step making new friends. They also tended to see the positive in situations and didn’t give up, even when things got hard, according to the study.

Demographics and income were not among the most important factors in determining successful transitions for young adults with learning and attention issues, the study stated.

Other influential factors in the success of those surveyed included:

  • Being resourceful
  • Making decisions and taking action
  • Overcoming negative messages from peers and adults
  • Engaging in sports, exercise and healthy eating
  • Support for issues early in life such as having and IEP or 504 plan before high school
  • Close relationships with mentors
  • Supportive, understanding teachers
  • Participation in extracurricular activities

“While there is no single profile of young adults with [learning and attention issues] who have successfully navigated the transition from high school, our data point to perseverance, resourcefulness, decisiveness and healthy living lifestyle as characteristics that are strongly association with positive outcomes,” the study authors concluded. “There are many powerful messages to parents from the results of this study, all reinforcing the critical role that parents can play in helping children overcome challenges and prepare them for a successful postsecondary transition.”

For more details or to see more of the study, visit the National Center for Learning Disabilities website.

By Betsy Stein

Click here for a list of tutoring companies in the area.

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