You Asked! Question 6

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Q6:  How is ADHD different from Dyslexia? I am concerned that my student has dyslexia but am being told by the school psychologist that it is just “inattention” issues that are preventing my student from being able to read at grade-level?

A:  According to the International Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent word recognition, spelling and reading decoding. People with dyslexia have problems discriminating sounds within a word or phonemes, a key factor in their reading and spelling difficulties.

Dyslexic children and children with ADHD have some similar characteristics. Dyslexic children, like children with ADHD, may have difficulty paying attention because reading is so demanding that it causes them to fatigue easily, limiting the ability to sustain concentration. People with dyslexia and those with ADHD both have difficulty with reading. The dyslexic person’s reading is typically dysfluent, with major problems with accuracy, misreading both large and small words. The person with ADHD may also be a dysfluent reader, but his or her reading is not characterized by misreading words. The ADHD reader may skip over punctuation, leave off endings, and lose his or her place. The disfluency of both the ADHD person and the dyslexic reader may negatively impact comprehension. Both may avoid reading and derive little pleasure from it. Both the person with dyslexia and the person with ADHD typically have trouble with writing. The typical dyslexic writer has significant problems with spelling, grammar, proofreading, and organization. The ADHD writer often has difficulty with organization and proofreading. Both the dyslexic writer and the ADHD writer may have handwriting difficulties.

Individuals with dyslexia and ADHD may be underachieving in school even though they are often bright and motivated. The goal for them, as it is for all children, is to meet their potential. It is critical that children with these disorders be carefully evaluated because treatment for one disorder is different from the other. Inaccurate diagnosis can lead to inappropriate intervention and a delay in timely, effective intervention (Source: The International Dyslexia Association).

To download the complete Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) and Dyslexia Fact Sheet by the International Dyslexia Association click HERE.


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