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  • Cynthia Yoo

ADHD & Learning Disabilities - How Counselling Can Help

Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Learning Disabilities (LD) struggle to effectively manage themselves and do what is expected of them. They often lack self-regulation and executive functioning skills, which are critical skills for resilience and daily success. When their challenges are left unidentified and unaddressed, children with ADHD and LD experience negative outcomes and shortcomings that continue to accumulate over time. When adults do not understand the nature of children’s struggles, they may unintentionally add insult to injury. They may misperceive and mislabel children as “lazy, stupid, oppositional, unmotivated, or manipulative” and punish symptomatic brain-based struggles. Children with neurodevelopmental disorders are not deficient or disordered. Without understanding and support, they will struggle in silence feeling frustrated, defeated, ashamed, and alone - which can lead to detrimental outcomes for everyone involved. When children struggle, families struggle. Counselling can help strengthen parent-child/parent-parent relationships, while working to increase everyone's capacity to manage the struggles at hand.

Counselling can help support children (and their parents) who struggle to understand, accept, and/or manage challenges that result from their diagnosis (e.g., emotional dysregulation, inattention, forgetfulness, lack of time management, disorganization, academic shortcomings, impulsivity, and parent-child conflict). With accurate knowledge, children (and their parents) can make meaning of their diagnosis in a helpful way and arrive at a more realistic, optimistic, and empowering outlook on themselves and their future. When parents have an informed understanding of children’s developmental needs, they can adjust their expectations, lean into compassion, implement effective strategies, and be an effective advocate for their child. Parents play an instrumental role in decreasing their child's obstacles and increasing their capacity and success. For older children, counselling can help equip them with the self-understanding, skills, and strategies they need to feel good about themselves, advocate for their rights, and meet their demands. The more children struggle, the more critical it is to build their "islands of competence."

- Written by Cynthia Yoo, Registered Psychologist -



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