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Related Disorder: ADD/ADHD


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.

  • ADHD/ADD can be treated with medication, whereas the student with learning disabilities cannot be "cured" or changed--but they can be taught modifications and strategies to better manage with their disability.
    • Medication will not help minimize the impact of LD.
  • ADHD makes the individuals less available for learning because of the activity level, inattention, and/or impulsivity. LDs make the individual unable to learn in the normal way, requiring intervention strategies to learn "how to learn."
    • Special education services will not help minimize the impact of ADHD. 

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 Hollowell

 Dr Edward Hallowell on ADHD

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."

image - video
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.