Welcome to

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic!


Your child is much more than her disability. He is so much more than a misspelled word. She is more than a story that's hard to comprehend. He is more than a math problem that can't be solved. She is more than an unmemorized multiplication fact. He is more than a messy desk; she is more than multi-step directions that are followed out of order. 

While it is easy, and tempting, to focus on only their difficulties, you must not allow their differences to define them. These children have strengths and talents that must not get buried under their failures. As their parent, you must search for and help them find what they are good at, where their talents lie, and be diligent to promote their strengths—both to others, to yourself, and to them. They will need encouragement to develop latent talents, and support to find and build up their strengths. This will improve their self-esteem and their motivation for school.

There are many areas of strengths, just like there are many varieties of disabilities.

Consider General Strengths . This child can work and play independently, with little to no direction or supervision. He is interested in doing well and works hard to that end. He can work in groups or one-on-one. He can understand the need for goals and what reasonable goals are, and sets attainable goals for himself; he plans ahead and makes good choices. He is eager to learn new things, even asking others who have knowledge of those things. He can ask for help when needed, in learning and in working towards accomplishing goals. He can organize himself, his space, his work, and his thoughts. He can admit disappointments and mistakes, and move on without giving up or becoming depressed. He's good at problem-solving. He is curious and creative, and has passions and hobbies.

Some have Social Strengths . She seeks out social interactions; finds it easy to talk to friends or strangers with ease; she can share, take turns, and negotiate to  get what she wants. She can ask for help when she needs it, and she often offers help when it's needed. She can read people's emotions and needs and respond appropriately, easily showing empathy and sympathy. She has a good sense of humor, enjoys interacting with new people, and makes and keeps friends easily. She follows rules and routines, resists peer pressure, and accepts redirection. She accepts personal responsibility for her good and bad actions, and has positive relationships with adults. When she gets frustrated, she reacts appropriately. 

Mathematical/Scientific Strengths  allow a person to see and understand patterns in nature and in numbers. He thinks logically, remembers math facts and can perform mental math. He uses and understands math vocabulary, and understands and applies math concepts to the real world. He can explain math concepts and patterns in numbers long before his peers; he loves logic puzzles and computer games that involve math and/or science; and he enjoy math or science classes, especially hands-on. He relishes going to the science museum and doing experiments at school or at home. 

Your child may have Language/Verbal Strengths. She can express ner needs, wants and ideas verbally. She use inflection and expression when speaking (speaking with prosody), and quickly picks up jokes, puns and riddles. Her grammar is age-appropriate, and she has and uses a growing vocabulary. She enjoys listening to stories, music and other activities, and participates in discussions at home and with friends. She talks about events in her world in the correct and logical order, and after listening to a conversation or a story, she can answer who, what, when, and where questions about what she has heard, as well as express her own opinions. She may look for opportunities to talk to adults or groups of kids, or want to be in the school play. 

Those with Literacy Strengths enjoy reading. He can easily match letters to sounds, and can sound out unfamiliar words. He recognizes sight words with no difficulty, and can read accurately with expression. Written directions are easy for him to follow. He tells, writes or draws detailed stories with many characters, and can be interrupted and return to the story when reading, and recalls and retells stories and facts after reading. He makes connections between reading and his own personal experience. May be somewhat of a family historian, remembering details of events and those involved. He loves biography, history and/or fiction in any form; he wants to learn what happened and why, and enjoys exploring the field of imagination. He remembers things as a story. He may be able to pick out patterns and forecast future trends.

Visual/Spatial Strengths: your child may be skilled at drawing and painting, and may have hobbies in the visual arts, such as photography, graphic novels, video game creation, or animation. She may see things in pictures and talk about her thoughts as colors, maps, or drawings. ​She can solve visual puzzles quickly, and wants to dress in a visually distinctive way, whether it is conventional or not. She may set up experiments around the house with mirrors, or Legos, or food. She may become an expert at knot-tying. She loves playing with models and miniatures, or may build her own from a kit or from scratch. She wants to play with machines and tools and learn how they work and what they do: she may tinker with, take apart, and put back together toys or electronics, or anything mechanical. She can put together toys or furniture without instructions, because she can see three dimensional objects in her mind. 

Kinesthetic Strengths: he is the natural athlete who learns new sports or dances with ease, practicing the required skills around the house until he is satisfied he has them perfected. He is always moving, climbing, running, jumping, or lifting things, rarely sitting still for more than five minutes at a time. In fact he must move around to explain or learn, moving himself and/or objects to make a point, or to tell a story. He loves science experiments, field trips, and crafts, preferring to touch, smell and manipulate objects rather than study an abstraction of a process. 

A child who relishes singing or playing music, making up her own songs, and practicing with gusto has Musical Strengths. She likes to put on shows or concerts featuring music and singing for siblings or friends. She may idealize DJs or musicians, listening to all their works and discussing their styles in detail. She might be skilled at knowing bird songs, animal calls, the fight songs of sports teams, or the sounds of specific engines and machines. She notices sounds in an environment before others, or notices rythm in unusual places—such as dancing to the rythm of the washing machine.

​Since a child's strengths are what they are naturally good at, many kids will dismiss their strengths as unimportant, desiring to be strong in their weak areas. Mostly, kids want to 'fit in' with their peers and be able to do the same things they are doing. It is important to help your child focus on what he is good at; to continually stress to him that the skills he does have are valuable. Find activities or classes that will help your child build his strengths. While no one will have all of these strengths, it is important for both you and your child to be able to identify what he is good at, and where his weaknesses lie. By playing to a child's strengths and supporting his weaknesses, you will be building a strong and healthy psyche that will carry your child into a successful adulthood.