You’re not alone

You’re not alone. We’ve been where you are, and we’re with you now. We’ve compiled some tips and advice that worked for our children and hope they can help yours as well.

Pools, Ballgames and Trips to the Library – Oh My!

“We look forward to a break from school and ridged routines, but we don’t want our children with learning disabilities or ADHD to lose their hard-earned skills.” -Barb White, LEAD Foundation Board Member and mom of a child with learning disabilities.

Visit the library over the summer!

Just like you schedule going to the pool and playing sports, put going to the library on your calendar. Most libraries have reading lists for grade level books. You can read these books to your children or listen to them on tape.

I like to have art projects to go along with reading. You can also have your child look at a map and discuss the adventures. Whatever you do, just enjoy the magic world of literature!

Here is a list of books that feature the World of Learning Challenges:

  • Clementine by Sara Pennypacker and Marla Frazee
  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • Ian’s Walk: A Story about Autism by Laurie Lears and Karen Ritz
  • Josh: A Boy with Dyslexia by Caroline Janover
  • My Name Is Brain Brian by Jeanne Betancourt
  • My Thirteenth Winter by Samantha Abeel
  • Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians byRick Riordan
  • Playing Tyler by T. L. Costa
  • Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
  • The Alphabet War: A Story about Dyslexia by Diane Burton Robb
  • The Bipolar Bear Family by Angela Ann Holloway
  • The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game by Nancy Churnin
  • Why Can’t I Learn Like Everyone Else? Kids with Learning Disabilities by Camden Flath and Sheila Nelson

Parents, you can see a list of books for you compiled by Sheldon Horowitz, Senior Director of Learning Resources and Research at National Center for Learning Disabilities, at

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho. Off To Camp We Go!

“Summer camps are a great way for child with learning disabilities or ADHD to become more independent, learn coping skills and retain their hard-earned skills from the school year while having fun.” -Barb White, LEAD Foundation Board Member and mom of a child with learning disabilities.

If you child is like most children with learning disabilities, they are probably glad school is over, so let’s turn your struggling student into a happy camper this summer!

What does your child like to do? What is he or she go at doing? Take your child’s interests, passions and strengths and find a summer camp.

Before signing your child up, talk to them to understand all worries and wishes. Do they want to stick with something they know or do they want to explore something new? Once you have a theme, talk to your child about day and overnight camps.

When packing your child’s bag, I recommend putting in happy letters and cards they can read during camp. Avoid, “I miss you!”. Throw in some surprise puzzle books and markers, so they can draw about their day during “Toe’s Up” time.

While you’re driving your child to camp, don’t make any promises they can call you. But let them know you’re leaving your information, dietary needs and medicines with the camp counselor and nurse.

You can see a list of camps at

You Butter Believe It

“You can make learning fun by having your children cook with you.” -Barb White, LEAD Foundation Board Member and mom of a child with learning disabilities.

Cooking together is a great family activity, especially for children with learning disabilities or ADHD. I recommend purchasing a visual cookbook that will make it easier for your kiddos to follow.

Not only will cooking teach your kids basic life skills, but they’ll also get to practice their reading and math. The sense of accomplishment they’ll get once your family eats the meal is the cherry on top, boosting their self confidence. (And you’ll get some one-on-one time with your child!)

Do your kids go to the grocery store with you or help you order groceries online? Let them put their math skills to good use and have them help pay.

If you haven’t heard of The Cookbook for Children with Special Needs: Learning a Life Skill with Fun, Tasty, Healthy Recipes by Deborah French, you should check it out. She’s a mother to children with special needs. This book includes the different food groups, healthy eating habits and simple, step-by-step instructions accompanied by illustrations to help guide your kiddos.

You can read more about this cookbook at

The Best of Both Worlds

“If you’re looking for summer activities for children with learning disabilities or ADHD, think of activities that are fun and reinforce skills.” -Barb White, LEAD Foundation Board Member and mom of a child with learning disabilities.

Here are some ideas that do both:

  • Use sidewalk chalk to practice letters and shapes or practice spelling words (allow them to be creative)
  • Count by two as you toss a ball (tetherball, volleyball, soccer ball, football or baseball)
  • Use spray paint or paint brushes with water to draw shapes, letters and concepts such as larger, smaller, left and right
  • Tap out patterns with spoons, piano sticks or rocks
  • Play a card game like War.

I limited screen time for my children and allowed them to earn “screen time” by reading, playing educational games or sending a friend or relative a home-made art project or card.

You can find more ideas at

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

“Dr. Seuss’s book is the perfect gift for anyone starting a new chapter in life (from pre-school graduation to college graduation). Or in this case, the summer.” -Barb White, LEAD Foundation Board Member and mom of a child with learning disabilities.

Discussing the summer calendar and allowing your children to chart activities on their own calendar is the perfect start to the summer.

Here’s a list of places to go:

  • Parks
  • Museums
  • Ballgames
  • Zoos

You can also have your children help plan the family vacation. But when it comes to traveling and visiting family, remember this. If you are giving your child a medication break for the summer, consider the schedule. Do you want to go to Grandma’s with a child who has trouble focusing?

One thing not to forget – allow for down time as often as possible. Hope you and your family have a wonderful summer!

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