Learning disorders occur in between 10% and 50% of children with ADHD. Common learning disorders among children with ADHD include:
Reading Disorders (i.e. Dyslexia)
Writing Disorders (i.e. Dysgraphia)
Math Disorders (i.e. dyscalculia )
Non-verbal Learning Disorders
Although ADHD and LD can both affect a child’s ability to learn, they are different disorders. It can be difficult to distinguish between ADHD and LD, as many of the problems can present in a similar way. For example, children with ADHD often experience academic difficulty due to attention and behavior problems while children with an LD may misbehave in the classroom due to frustration.
Academically, children with ADHD and LD often show particular difficulty with a specific academic skill or subject. This difficulty is often influenced by the specific LD the child is having difficulty with. For example, children with Dyscalculia often have trouble in math class, while those with Dyslexia have problems in language arts.
Additioanlly, children with ADHD and LD often have difficulty behaving in class. Common behavior difficulties include:
Difficulty paying/sustaining attention
Increased activity levels
Difficulty completing assignments
Sloppy or poor classwork
Power struggles with authority
Diagnosis of a Learning Disorder
When a learning disorder is suspected, either by the child's parents or teachers, the next step is often to request formal testing. This can take many different forms depending on the location of the testing. Some providers use screening tools to understand the development of the child's academic skills in relation to their same-aged or same-grade peers. Others will opt for a more comprehensive assessment that often includes a full test of academic skills, a cognitive assessment, and possibly other assessments of related abilities. Each type of assessment has its strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, the decision to move forward should be carefully considered and talked over with the child's team of providers.