Relationship between ADHD and Learning Disabilities
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is not the same as a learning disability. Having said that, it can make learning very difficult for kids. When kids struggle to focus on what their teacher is saying or when they can’t seem to be able to sit down and pay attention to a book, they find it hard to learn. Kids can have both learning disabilities and ADHD together, and children with ADHD are more likely to have learning problems than others.
Learning Disabilities and ADHD
Learning disabilities are often neurological and do not reflect a child’s intelligence. They can affect your child’s ability to organize and recall information, to listen and speak, and can impact their short and long term memory. Learning disability can be broadly categorized as a set of specific learning challenges, which include dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia and other processing disorders such as Auditory or Visual Processing Disorder.
Problems with academic work can often lead to the discovery of learning disabilities. Their effects go beyond the classroom walls and can impact a child even outside the school. It can affect a child’s self-esteem. Students with ADHD have a bigger problem with learning disability as they often find themselves trying to conform to the ideal behavior expected in schools. They may not be able to do the tasks that other children seem to be doing easily and hence may feel isolated or different.
When someone has more than one condition, it can be harder to recognize them individually. If a child already has an ADHD diagnosis, it can be easy to attribute all the challenges to ADHD. Just like ADHD presents itself differently in everyone, so do learning disabilities. This is why it is difficult to recognize them and there is no definitive checklist.
Learning disabilities also have a strong genetic component – if you or your partner have a learning disability, your child could have one too. Try to learn as much as possible about these and ADHD. If you or your child have already been diagnosed with ADHD and are taking therapies, yet facing challenges, it may be due to another condition present in you. Find the right specialist to diagnose your condition. Remember that different specialists are qualified to test and diagnose different conditions.
Treating ADHD and Learning Disabilities
It is important to treat both ADHD and LD. If your child is on medication to help with their ADHD, their learning disability problems may still persist. If they are receiving assistance for their LD, they may not get the full benefit if they are struggling with their focus and impulsivity.
Neither ADHD nor learning disabilities can be cured. However, it does not mean your child cannot have a successful and happy life. There are many instances of people with ADHD and learning disabilities going on to lead a happy and prosperous life. So just have patience and follow the right treatment plan for success.