EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is an excerpt from Of Different Minds: Seeing Your ADHD Child Through the Eyes of God by Maren Angelotti. In this chapter, "Higher Education: Will They Make It?", Maren talks about how each one of her children with learning differences prepared for life after highschool.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. - Proverbs 17:21

Learning-different children have a unique perspective on the world. Most of them see the world as a beautiful and good place, but when they try to interact with it there seems to be an invisible barrier that won’t let them pass. Their perceptions of others and the fairness of things is a little bit clouded. Their struggle with poor auditory processing can create a world that sounds muffled and hard to fully understand. We parents, often times, try to pull our children along through that invisible barrier and expect them to function well in all situations. But when it comes to your child’s future, pulling her along can lead to frustration and disappointment. This is the time to stand next to her and look through that invisible barrier. See what she sees and how she sees it. Understanding how she perceives her world will give you insight for how to guide her toward a healthy and prosperous future.

As the elementary and middle school years come to a close, many parents feel that the worst is behind them; they are now experts on dealing with learning differences. They have safely crossed the Sea of Denial with their family intact. But the truth is, these early years have been preparation for the greatest challenge: high school and beyond. The good news is that if parents place themselves in God’s hands, continuing to trust the One who brought them this far, He will continue to guide them through whatever lies ahead.

I like to recommend the following formula: Be a parent to your child from ages 0–10; guide them through life from ages 10–20; be their friend from age 20 until death. Your child will welcome your friendship and wise input in their adult years as you guide them through their adolescence. This process starts by setting them up to win in high school.

The majority of learning-different children make it through high school because their parents stay on top of the issues related to learning differences. Others have a more difficult time. To help your child through his struggles, start by listening to him. What are his dreams and goals? Though some of these may seem out of reach, treat all goals the same: with respect, joy and excitement. Your teen will pick up on your belief in him and believe that he might just make something of himself. Many learning-different kids have the ability to visualize the big picture. This is a strength. Their difficulty is trying to implement it. Because that is the case, the next step is to show your teen how to begin to make his dreams a reality.

Goals are the foundation of most everything we accomplish as human beings. They give us a direction and set us on a course to fulfill our potential. Without them, we wander aimlessly through life, wondering why our lives never amounted to anything. God wants great things for us. He provides opportunities for us to succeed, but all too often we don’t believe that we have what it takes to make our dreams come true. Too many times, we ignore God’s opportunities and settle for the status quo. As Christian parents, we must instill in our children an unshakeable belief that God doesn’t make mistakes, and that He expects us to live up to our potential.