Students with Learning Disabilities often also have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a related disorder. It is estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of children have ADHD, or appropriately 2 million children in the United States. This means that in a classroom of 25 to 30 children, it is likely that at least one will have ADHD.
LD Online explains why ADHD/ADD is not considered a "learning disability" itself.
Each requires proper recognition and specific treatments. Unfortunately, many students with LDs also will have ADHD as a related disorder, and both have to be treated. From LD Online
Dr. Edward Hallowell, an expert on ADHD is in the forefront in refusing to call the condition a disability--but rather a trait. From his website: "As I like to describe it, having ADD is like having a powerful race care for a brain, but with bicycle brakes. Treating ADD is like strengthening your brakes--so you start to win races in your life."
|Dr. Edward Hallowell|
A student with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) has "developmentally inappropriate degrees of inattention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity" appearing in most situations and to varying degrees. It is more pronounced when in situations of required attention--listening to a teacher, at meetings, when doing required assignments or chores." Some people, however, show signs of the disorder in only one setting, such as at home or at school. Signs of the disorder may be minimal or absent when a person is receiving frequent reinforcement or very strict control, or is in a novel situation, or a one-to-one situation."
ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is the distractibility without the hyperactivity.
Signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder Students
Common Symptoms, simply, from Hallowell, ADD/ADHD Overview:
These students find it hard to concentrate. They are paying very close attention to something other than the task at hand and miss important information.They "take breaks" in their mind--they gaze, listen to certain sounds, think about things entirely unrelated to the current situation. They feel tired or bored at school. They often have minds that move too fast--they make careless errors. Sometimes they move their bodies too much and fidget and wiggle--this is the hyperactive addition. They are often impulsive and say whatever comes to mind, regardless of the relevance, so their conversations can be inappropriate. The want new situations or activities all the time, and they really want it. They are often very smart in other ways, and think "outside the box" because their minds are making connections in different ways
from Levine, All kinds of minds, 233-35
Dr. Mel Levine, in A mind at a time (2002), specifically addresses educators about students with attention difficulty:
A lack of attention control may masquerade as laziness, a negative attitude, or just plain bad behavior. Yet these are struggling and confused students who want very much to succeed, to please themselves and win the respect of the adults in their lives. They need our sympathy and support at the same time that they need us to hold them accountable for working on their attention controls. When they sense that we're on their side and not accusing them of being bad or lazy, they often rise to the occasion and show steady improvement. Teachers [and librarians], therefore, need to form strong alliances with these children rather than adversarial relationships. (89)
From Misunderstood Minds, watch this video to where Dr. Mel Levine talks with two students exhibiting signs of attention disorders and offers possible explanations for their behavior and difficulty concentrating.
Excerpted from the LDA of California and UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute “Q.U.I.L.T.S.” Calendar 2001-2002