Ask the Experts

Q: What Is My Child’s Learning Style?

Traditional learning models — sitting and taking notes through an hour-long lecture — rarely work for ADHD brains. But how do educators and parents figure out the best alternative strategies for students who learn differently?

Q: “How do I figure out what kind of learner my child is and what organization system works best with his learning style?” MayanRose

Hi MayanRose:

What a terrific question! Understanding how your child learns best is essential for helping your student perform to his or her fullest potential. And that begins with knowing your child’s learning style!

Every person learns in a slightly different way. And there is never one right tactic or answer. Most of us fall into more than one learning-style category. The best way to find out how your child learns best is to step back and observe what seems to be working well and build from there.

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There are four main learning styles:

  1. Visual learners rely on what they see. They benefit from illustrations and visual presentations. They are usually good readers and take lots of notes. They learn best from reading, making flashcards and using different colors to create study guides. They also learn by watching what others do.
  2. Auditory learners learn by absorbing information they hear. They remember best by reciting new information and reading aloud, and they can learn in a noisy environment. They benefit from instruction that is based on discussion and questions. Making up songs or poems is an excellent study method for auditory learners.
  3. Tactile learners like to write things down or take notes when learning. They also like to doodle and draw. They tend to enjoy reading books, writing stories, and illustrating what they have learned.
  4. Kinesthetic learners learn best by doing. Hands-on instruction, manipulatives, role-playing or building things helps them to lay down learning. Touch and movement are critical to their process and having them teach you is essential for them to learn.

In addition to understanding your child’s learning style, I have two general rules when offering organizing tips for children with ADHD.

Clear is King. If your student can’t see it, it most likely doesn’t exist. Clear, transparent folders, dividers, even baskets around his room, etc., will give him a natural way to receive reminders of where things are.

If it takes more than two steps… your child won’t do it. Think unfussy and streamlined. Eliminate unnecessary school supplies, the hard-to-open dresser drawers and even the closet hangers and rod!

And if you are looking for more information on learning styles, please check out my book, What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Your Child Succeed (#CommissionsEarned). We devote a whole section to them!

[Free Guide: How Children With ADHD Learn]

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