Charlie looks around his first grade classroom when it’s reading time. He needs frequent reminders to get back to work. His teachers and his parents are puzzled why such a bright boy is having trouble in school. Could it be an attention deficit causing the problem? Could a learning problem cause the inattention? How can they help Charlie succeed?
What is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and what does it have to do with learning disabilities (LD)? ADHD and LD are not the same thing, but ADHD certainly can interfere with learning and behavior. About one-third of people with LD have ADHD. Clear up your confusion about the two often co-occurring disorders by accessing the information below.
What is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? And what does it have to do with learning disabilities? First of all, ADHD is not the same thing as a learning disability (LD). But it certainly can interfere with learning and behavior. Also, about one-third of people with LD have ADHD, too. This can cause a lot of confusion for parents, teachers and children.
My son John, now age 23, has struggled with ADHD and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) since he was in preschool. A bright, sensitive and outgoing child, he’s always wanted to succeed in school and fit in socially. His ADHD and OCD, of course, didn’t always make it easy for him. I first learned about executive function when John was in middle school; it was a memorable “aha” moment for me. Suddenly, his learning and behavior challenges made more sense—as did the success (or failure) of the tactics I’d been using to help steer him in the right direction.
What Is ADHD?
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a brain-based disorder that can affect children, adolescents and adults. Researchers are still exploring what causes ADHD. We do know that the disorder often runs in families and many studies suggest that genes play a big role in ADHD. Other possible underlying causes include environmental factors, such as early exposure to lead or to alcohol before birth, and brain injury.
Whether you are wondering if your child has an attention problem or if he or she already has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), you likely have experienced a number of challenging and perplexing behaviors and situations.
Don’t panic. Stay focused. LD.org puts everything you need at your fingertips, and help is only a click-of-a-mouse away.
Our team has compiled a list of the most up-to-date information and resources to offer guidance and support about Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The fact is, ADHD and LD are not the same thing, but ADHD certainly can interfere with learning and impact behavior. As many as one-third to one-half of people with LD also have ADHD.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that can be well managed through medical, educational, psychological and behavioral treatments. Finding the right combination of treatments can be a difficult process. It’s important to work with your child’s physician, team of educators and others as you figure what works for your child and what does not. And remember, be patient! This can be a trying time for your child, your family and you.
As a developmental-behavioral pediatrician, I see children with a wide range of disabilities. When I first meet with a family, I always ask the parents what they hope to gain from their visit with me. One of the most common questions parents ask is, “What does my child have?” This question is understandable, because treatments and services are based on a child’s diagnosis. The disorder is usually the focus of the health care and educational systems.
The symptoms of LD and ADHD often overlap, and treating a child’s individual problem situations, instead of his or her diagnosis, can empower parents. The “treatments” or strategies needed for many problem situations caused by LD and ADHD are the same. You and your child’s doctor can decide which challenges are the most important, and then choose the treatments or strategies you think will best address them.
Fact: About one-third of individuals with LD also have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Another fact: Our amazing social media community on Facebook and Twitter quickly responded to our request for their favorite ADHD-related books. These books contain helpful information that not only shed light on ADHD, but also provide tips on how your child can cope with ADHD in school. If you have more suggestions, please add them to the comments below.
Over the course of three years, I was approached by three teachers who had all expressed similar concerns about my son’s behavior. They described his behavior using different language, and citing different examples, but looking back, I see that all of their concerns aligned with the criteria for ADHD. My initial reaction was one of fear. Was I a defective parent? Did I have a defective child? Did they want to drug my child and suppress his personality with stimulant medication? I had a lot of anxiety and no real answers. I did what many parents do; I blamed the teacher.
Distractibility, a main symptom of ADHD, can impact a child’s life both in and out of school. Kids with focus issues can be distracted by the littlest things—things people who don’t have focus issues or ADHD might not even notice. Here are five common distractions for kids with focus issues and ways to sidestep them.
This is a common misconception. When doctors prescribe medication for ADHD, it can take a little while to figure out which medication works the best for your child and at what dosage. There are many medications on the market, and some may work well for some children and not others. It’s not uncommon for doctors to try different medications until the optimal type and dose is determined for your child’s age, height and weight. When prescribed effectively, ADHD medications work quite well soon after taking them. Your child’s personality won’t change, but his ability to focus and self-regulate will improve, which can make it easier to learn and to manage social situations. These changes can help your child build confidence and positive self-esteem.
In grade school, increasing workloads can be hard for students to keep up with. For some kids, this is when symptoms of ADHD first become noticeable—and your child’s teacher may see signs before you do. The following signs are typical of ADHD, but some can also occur with other issues.
Is your child easily distracted? Impulsive? Daydreamy? Hyperactive? If your child acts these ways most of the time, what you’re seeing may be signs of ADHD, a medical condition that can be helped through a variety of strategies.
Your child’s middle school teachers may notice her struggling more or working less. Some of the symptoms of ADHD may also occur with auditory processing disorder, executive functioning issues, anxiety disorders and mood disorders.
Getting a child with ADHD to concentrate can be a real challenge. Here are some easy and fun strategies to help your child improve his ability to focus.
High school isn’t just about academics; it’s also about learning to be self-sufficient and self-aware. Still, as the work becomes more rigorous and teachers expect students to become more independent, ADHD symptoms may show up in different ways at school. The following signs are typical of ADHD, but some of them may also occur with executive functioning issues and dyscalculia.
With all the misconceptions about ADHD, it’s hard to know what’s true and to feel understood and supported. Separating myth from fact can help you feel more confident in your ability to help your child.
ADHD can make many everyday situations difficult, but which ones are the most challenging for your child? Here are some common trouble spots and simple strategies that might make things easier for you and your child.
A doctor (including neurologists, psychologists, pediatricians and psychiatrists) is the only professional qualified to formally diagnose ADHD. To qualify for the diagnosis, a child must display symptoms of the disorder for at least six months. It’s important to know that there is no single test for ADHD. There are many steps in diagnosing ADHD, first of which is a complete physical exam and discussion of medical history. The doctor will also want to make sure your child doesn’t have other medical issues that may look like features of ADHD.
ADHD can make it difficult for your child to concentrate and pay attention in school, but it affects more than just academics. It has an impact on social skills as well. Here are five common social challenges your child with ADHD may face—and ways you can help.
If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, you’re not alone: ADHD is one of the most common childhood brain conditions. Researchers still don’t know the exact cause, but they do know that genes, brain differences and some outside factors like prenatal exposure to smoking might influence your child’s chances of having ADHD.