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ADHD Plus Learning Disabilities

May 14th, 2014 05:00:00 am

ADHD Plus Learning Disabilities

I recently read an article on ADDitude Magazine that I couldn't resist making one or two comments on, not to mention adding in a few different insights. Go figure!


Here is the article and the ten conditions:

ADHD Plus: 10 Conditions that May Show Up with Attention Deficit

  1. ADHD and Depression

  2. ADHD and Learning Disabilities

  3. ADHD and Anxiety

  4. ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder

  5. ADHD and Bipolar Disorder

  6. ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder

  7. ADHD and Autism

  8. ADHD and Substance Abuse

  9. ADHD and Tourette's Syndrome

  10. ADHD and Conduct Disorder


Let's take a different look at ADHD and Learning Disabilities:


I've said it before, and I'll say it again and again and again: when we declare that something is a disability, we create a disability. Instead of looking at ADD/HD as a gift, a part of the evolutionary process, some people see it as a disability. This article by ADDitude Magazine is careful to note that the way ADHD “impacts learning and behaviors in school...is different from a learning disability.”


ADD/HD that isn't managed well can make aspects of life debilitating, but that's not the same thing as a disability. A disability means that person will always be “less able,” in a sense, and that the playing field will have to be leveled in order to help them.


According to this article, “one-half of all those with ADHD also have some type of LD" or Learning Disability. And they “may have trouble organizing thoughts, finding the right word to use when speaking, mastering reading, writing, or math, or having difficulty with memory.”


We all have strengths and weaknesses. Not all of us are going to be superb with math and writing. Some people are naturally very organized, and some aren't. Some people are incredibly well spoken, and others find that they express themselves better in writing, drawing, painting, or dancing. Some people see the value in memorization and really enjoy doing it, but others would rather put the flash cards down and pick up a block of clay, or a basketball.


Who's to say that there is one right way to learn? Or that we have to be great at absolutely everything? Way too much pressure is put on kids these days to be the best. Not the best version of themselves, or the best at what they enjoy, but the best at absolutely everything. That's unrealistic and just plain unfair.


Just because someone has difficulty in one or two areas of learning, or doesn't like a certain subject, or prefers a certain method of learning that isn't being taught, does not mean that they have a disability. To tell someone that they are disabled can damage them for life; it's a label they carry around for a long time, and can have a hard time shaking from their memory.


ADD/HD is an observational diagnosis with a 20% rate of misdiagnosis, according to the National Institute of Health. Once that label is on, it's hard to take it off. In 2011, the number of children age 4-7 who were diagnosed with ADHD rose to 11%, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Co-morbidity rate for ADHD is incredibly high, at 80%. If the rates of diagnosis for ADD and ADHD are increasing each year, and more problems are being tacked on, shouldn't we take a look not at the children but at the systems that are in place? It's safe to assume that all of these kids age 4-17 are enrolled in schools. I dare say, maybe the school system just isn't giving children a learning model with which they can thrive in. People need to stop punishing the child for not thriving in an outdated school system that they didn't create.


Lastly, when are we going to realize that the drugs we put these kids on are not magic pills, but serious prescriptions that have side effects? It might just be that medications are influencing your child's ability to learn. Before you or someone you know rushes off to the doctor to find another prescription to fix a so-called Learning Disability, check what the side effects of the current medications are, and seek alternative options. Beware of rushing down the rabbit hole of prescriptions, especially when it comes to your children's health and well-being. How far will we go in medicating our youth before we say “enough is enough!”


This is the third article in a series on ADHD and other accompanying conditions.

1. ADHD Plus...Plus...Plus

2. ADHD and Depression


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