Well, you've certainly got your work cut out! Low self esteem in children (and indeed anyone else) has very long roots... Things that have worked for me are: bigging up the things he can do, and do well. Having a 'can-do' positive attitude yourself, and a cheerful non-acceptance of the . Be firm and fair with your praise, so that it has value - don't answer the questions. Try 'when you've done something I think is great, I'll tell you, don't worry. You don't need to keep asking!' One idea that really interested me was 'effortless success'. I should point out that my son (y6) has Down Syndrome, and therefore every gosh-darned thing he does/acheived has been like walking thwith lead boots. What might seem like an ordinary hillock to an ordinary child can be like a veritable Everest for a child with that level of special need - which, to be blunt, it sounds like your little boy has. I'm interested in this concept because I think that there is nothing like success to breed success. I see it as part of a process - if the good feelings surrounding success have been felt, and the child has felt like they ahve achieved something, then they are more likely to have a go, and achieve a little bit more next time. The trick is, I think, to be sublte enough to fool the child into thinking that they have done it on their own in the first place - which is easy when they are very little, and increasingly difficult as they get older and are more and more aware of the differences between them and their peers. Anyway, it's just an idea. My other idea is to support from your heart (if that makes sense!). This little boy has a lot of problems. The more people who treat him with kindness, fairness, respect and 'normalcy' the better. One day he will need to negotiate his way in adult society - where excuses and labels don't make much difference. Whatever you can do to help him to stand on his own two feet is good, I think.