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The importance of understanding a child's specific disability

No two students are exactly the same; every child learns a little bit differently. The same goes for children with learning disabilities -- or any disability, for that matter. Figuring out a child's specific needs can help teachers and school faculty tailor the educational experience accordingly.

For example, if your child has attention deficient and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), he or she may require help in the classroom. However, this doesn't mean he or she needs the exact same help or accommodations as another child with ADHD. This is especially true if your child is also a perfectionist.

ADHD and perfectionism

People often make assumptions about children with ADHD. They think they are unfocused, wild and careless. However, as this article notes, some children with ADHD are actually perfectionists.

This means they can get hyper focused on a specific task; they can become anxious about a small detail or paralyzed by the desire to make something exactly right.

Children who are perfectionists and have ADHD can struggle in school because they can feel incredibly frustrated. This could mean they never finish assignments or they don't even want to try because they cannot make the work look exactly like they want it to look. 

Helping children in this situation

Parents and teachers can help children in this situation by first and foremost acknowledging this element of their learning. Once people understand why a child might be struggling in class, it can be easier to craft solutions.

Such solutions might include helping a child understand when work does not need to be exact, minimizing the pressure on them to do "their best" and explaining realistic expectations and standards.

What this can mean for your child

If you have a child with ADHD who is a perfectionist, he or she likely requires specific assistance or accommodations in an academic setting.

To ensure these tools are as effective as possible, it is crucial that parents, teachers and school administrators coordinate efforts to get on the same page about a child's unique challenges. When this happens, it can be easier to identify appropriate solutions and make sure a child gets the necessary help and services to which he or she is entitled under the law.

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