ADHD and Reading Difficulties
Often times reading difficulties are mistaken for ADHD, or at least the suggestion of ADHD muddies the water for the appropriate diagnosis of dyslexia. Surely, it cant be inadequate instruction for the dyslexic students so it must be ADHD. Often, parents such as myself are called into the school for a parent teacher conference to discuss their child’s inattention or signs of ADHD, and this is the sole reason given that the child is not learning to read at the same pace as other children. Sometimes there are lengthy conversation concerning the teachers suspicion of the childs ADHD and the parent teacher conference is completely devoid of any discussion based on objective data concerning the child’s reading progress. This is exactly what happened to my son in kindergarten. And like many parents, I took my son to a neurologist and received the diagnosis of ADHD. The teachers at school where happy and assured me medicating my child was sure to solve his problem of not learning to read at the appropriate pace despite his above average IQ. There was no mention of his DIBELS failure, or his problems with phonemic awareness (objective data), it was simply chalked up to ADHD.
Is Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder the same as Dyslexia:
Although many people confuse ADHD and Dyslexia the two are entirely different disorders. Dyslexia is a language-based disorder affecting reading; while ADHD is a problem with focus and attention. However, dyslexia and ADHD often coexist with between 12% and 24% of those having dyslexia also having ADHD (Shaywitz, S. Overcoming Dyslexia, 2003). Furthermore, their ARE objective measures to diagnose dyslexia and ADHD, and the objective measurements are different for each disorder. Don’t let anyone tell you the reason your child is not learning to read is simply ADHD, hold a high index of suspicion that your child may be dyslexic and demand appropriate testing and objective indicators of their reading progress.