Home Strategies for the LD Child

Parenting a child with learning disabilities is quite a challenge — Learn about every day strategies and tips you can use with your child, in several areas of life, including home, play, homework and in daily routines that can help with their dyslexia and other learning disabilities.



  • Plan activities both inside and outside the home for short time periods. For example limit playing board games to thirty minutes or plan for frequent brakes if played longer.
  • Make sure your demands are realistic. If you want you child’s room cleaned, and the room hasn’t been cleaned in months, start small and work at it every day. To start with, have your child pick up all the books and store them on the shelf. The next day, get your child to sort through the clean and dirty clothes, and place them into bags, etc.
  • Give your child a specific start time and finish time when doing a chore or activity and make sure they know how to do the chore. For example, after dinner from 6:15 to 6:30, have your child prepare their lunch for the following day.


Auditory Processing

  • When speaking with your child, reduce noisy distractions such as fans, air conditioners, television, open windows, barking dogs, or move to a quieter location. Make eye contact or stand face to face; limit the information to a few items or one item broken down into its parts. Ask to have the information repeated.
  • Turn listening into a fun game. Find simple food recipes for kids. Read aloud the directions and have your child do the task. If your child likes building things, find age appropriate models such as airplanes, kites, action figures, toys or crafts. As you read the instructions, have your child remember the task sequence and have him/her make the model.
  • Make your child part of the solution. Ask, “When mommy or daddy talks to you, what do you think will help you remember?” Some children like writing in a little pocket notepad or putting a sticker on their hand, others prefer writing notes, putting them on the refrigerator, or on the bathroom mirror.



  • Have your child wear clothing that is easy to get on and off at school, at play, in sports, etc. Things such as Velcro shoes, sweat pants and shirts, t-shirts, leggings or sweaters work well. Use Velcro fasteners instead of buttons, snaps or zippers. When not in a rush, teach your child how to manage difficult fasteners.
  • Encourage your child to participate in games and sports that are interesting to him/her.
  • On an individual basis, introduce the child to new sports activities or a new playground. Review any rules, objectives, goals or routines associated with the activity. Be aware of any motor challenges.
  • As you supervise your child have him/her participate in household activities like setting the table, putting dishes away, making lunch, etc., that use fine motor skills. Focus and guide the sequence of steps such as body and hand placement, turning around, grasping items, etc.
  • Provide toys and materials like crayons and paper, play dough, modelling clay, dolls and doll clothes, large and small blocks, to practice fine motor skills. Supervise playtime and be aware of any challenges that come up.



  • Make math apart of every day life by counting household items. For example count toys, food taken from the refrigerator, kitchen utensils, or clothes going into a washer or out of a dryer. Count the items out loud either forwards or backwards. For variation, add, subtract, or multiply.
  • To learn shapes, have your child look for circles, squares, or triangles, inside and outside the home. Do the same for three-dimensional objects such as cylinders, cones, or cubes. For example, as you collect the daily mail, point out that letters come in different sizes rectangles or squares. When you are outside with your child, point to different shapes like street signs, doors, windows or garbage cans.
  • Coupons and other store ads are an excellent way to learn math skills. With your child, read store ads and price the cost of items to be bought. Compare store prices and figure out the best price and how much money you would save. Have your child buy some items and figure out the change to be received.



  • Set up a regular homework routine. Schedule homework for the same time and place. Start using a homework assignment book. Have your child identify a class friend he or she can call if the book is forgotten at school. Reward your child with praise, “Well done!”, “Way to go” or “A special treat”, etc., after the homework is completed.
  • Use a colour code such as pens, markers, paper, or folders to highlight key information, instructions, activities or storing information. On a calendar, mark all outside activities in green such as sports, lawn work and inside activities in blue such as homework, house cleaning, swimming class, etc. Organize your child’s dresser drawer by colour such light and dark colours. Put a corresponding colour sticker on each drawer.
  • Provide your child with a daily schedule, broken into time slots for the tasks the child must do that particular day along with a timer. The structure will help your child focus as he/she can anticipate times required to complete a task.



  • Beware that procrastination is a habit and that positive habits need to be created. New habits take time to develop. When you child accomplishes a task within the appropriate timeframe, you child earns the reward. Rewards can be verbal praise, special foods for lunch, etc.
  • For complex activities, break large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. No matter how small the task, complete all tasks. Reward your child when it’s completed.
  • Define your expectations with your child. Avoid using general terms or phrases such as “clean your room” but rather say, “Can you please pick up the books off the floor”. Make sure that they are measurable, one at a time, and are short-term



  • If your child makes reading errors such as word substitutions or leaving words out, read aloud to your child as you purposefully make the same type of reading errors. At first, make it very obvious, and gradually make it less obvious. Encourage him/her to catch you making your errors. Count them and over time, see if there are less errors being made.
  • Make a recording of your child reading and play the recording as he/she rereads the same text silently. Have him/her circle all the words that were omitted in the original recording.
  • If your child is reversing the order of letters or words such as “I saw in the library” rather then “I was in the library” you need to help him or her learn to make sense of the sentence. Try this type of exercise. Words: (saw, was); Sentences: “John home”; The women the car”; I going home”.



  • Focus on strengths by maintaining a file of your child’s successes like, academic work, awards, honours, pictures of friends, etc. Use this to celebrate by highlighting his progress and development when he is feeling emotionally low.
  • When correcting inappropriate behaviour, reject and point out the child’s behaviour as inappropriate, but never reject the child.
  • Provide opportunities for children to help others by showing them that they have something to offer to people around them. Encourage your child to get involved in neighbourhood projects like, picking up litter in the park, or other charitable work. Being involved in cooperative group activities provides the child with memorable shared experiences that enhance friendships and social belonging.


Social Skill

  • Focus on the specific skills such as “Saying hello”, “maintaining eye contact”, or “not standing to close to someone” that require improvement. Pick one item to improve at a time. Encourage your child to practice them at every opportunity. Once one skill is accomplished, move onto the next skill.
  • With your child, observe other children at the playground, the library, etc. Point out other kid’s social behaviour such as the way they cooperate, interact with peers and adults, respond to rejection or joy, etc.
  • Establish a reward system to reinforce, recognize and support appropriate social behaviour. Recognize and reinforce both small and large progress and growth in your child.



  • Play word games with your child. Scramble a word and have your child unscramble it. Other games you can play are hangman, crosswords, or store bought games such as Boggle or Scrabble.
  • Make or buy flash cards that include prefixes, suffixes, and root words. Colour prefixes red, suffixes yellow and roots green. Place several of each on a table or floor. See how many words your child can make in a minute.
  • When spelling or memorizing a word, have your child say it out loud. Cover it up, and have your child remember how the word is spelled in his/her mind. Have him/her write it out.



  • Try a different approach like, hand signals, visual and verbal cues, etc., to indicate changes in time. • Use a timetable that list the activities in order and the time allocated to each. For example, 7:00 – 7:15 a.m. “Get out of bed and dress”; 7:15 – 7:30 a.m. “wash face and hands”. Until the routine is established, use a kitchen timer to remind your child to move onto the next task. • Each Sunday, set time aside to plan the upcoming week with your child. Make a “to do” list. Note when school tasks, chores and activities must be finished. Get your child to anticipate the amount of time it might take to complete each task. At the end of the week, assess with your child whether the amount of time was correct and if more or less time is needed per task for the following week.


Visual Processing

  • Make a “window frame’ by cutting out the center from sturdy paper like an index card or construction paper. Place the cut of center of the frame over words, numbers, pictures, etc., which keeps the important information in the center while blocking out peripheral material which is distracting to your child.
  • Use letter tiles such as those found in commercial games. Have your child find and arrange the correct spelling of a word being studied. Or have the student unscramble letters to form words. In both exercises, the student must concentrate on the correct order of letters.
  • Practice estimating distance with your child by throwing a ball and have him/her estimate its distance, then measure it together. You can also practice social distance by having your child judge the appropriate closeness to other people.



  • Encourage your child to use proper handgrip, body posture and positioning of paper when writing. It’s important that you reinforce this structure at every opportunity such as doing homework in writing, spelling or math or in play as in colouring or painting.
  • Practice with your child writing letters, words or numbers in the air to improve motor memory of these shapes. Start with the arm in big wide movements. As he /she improve, switch to the hand to make smaller movements, then the finger to make even smaller movements of letters, words or numbers. As the child practices this skill, have he/she say out loud the letters, words or numbers with each movement.
  • Encourage your child to practice writing with low-stress and fun opportunities. Write a letter or postcard to friends or relatives. Get him/her to post a daily or weekly calendar of chores or homework. Make a shopping list, write an email or write in a journal or diary.