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Is ADHD a Learning Disability?

is ADHD a learning disability

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ADHD can cause challenges when it comes to learning in school and when learning new skill sets in life. However, people with ADHD can still learn new concepts, enjoy hobbies, and acquire knowledge because it does not interfere with learning endeavors.

While the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) classifies ADHD as a disability because schools can provide qualifying students specially tailored education services in public and private schools, it is not truly a learning disability. Children with ADHD can continue to learn normally along with their peers as long as the appropriate steps are taken to help them focus while in school.

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

The neurodevelopmental condition hinders a person’s ability to keep attention on one task at a time. There’s a severe lack of self-control when focusing on a task. The diagnosis is usually made during childhood, especially when deemed very physically active and exhibits very impulsive behaviors without thinking of the consequences.

Other characteristics of someone with ADHD include:

●     Inability to keep organized.

●     Constantly talks even at the wrong times.

●     Cannot help but give into temptation.

●     Will have trouble taking turns with their peers.

●     Being forgetful.

●     Losing their belongings repeatedly.

●     Daydreaming rather than focusing on what’s going on currently.

Because children and teenagers with ADHD tend to fidget and have difficulty controlling their behavior, they may get into more trouble than their neurotypical peers at school, at home, and at other community functions.

Why ADHD is Not a Learning Disability

Those with ADHD can still learn how to read, write, do mathematics, discover scientific concepts, engage in a new hobby, and more.

The only issue is that focus is hindered for someone with ADHD. The lack of focus does not interfere with an ADHD individual’s ability to learn. This problem just creates challenges in the learning process, but the person can learn new things in their life when the issue is properly addressed.

For example, a child with ADHD in fourth-grade class can be a whiz kid regarding their timetables. Still, they just may need a different technique to remain focused (such as fidget poppers or another physical mechanic) when completing a timed test.

How Can a Student With ADHD Focus in School?

A student with ADHD can focus in school by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and engaging in their daily treatments, whether behavior therapy or consuming their daily recommended medication dosages.

While these techniques cannot cure ADHD, they can help maintain control of the condition’s symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control recommends these ways to help maintain control of ADHD symptoms.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Their focus in school can increase by consuming a healthy balanced breakfast every morning. Going to school hungry can hinder an ADHD student from having a productive day.

If a family does not have time to give their children breakfast, schools have breakfast programs that provide children with a balanced breakfast before their first class. Kids with ADHD should take advantage of this breakfast program if they do not get breakfast at home for whatever reason.

A balanced breakfast includes a mix of grains fortified with vitamins and nutrients (cereals or oatmeal), dairy (milk, yogurt, or cheese), and fruit (apple, banana, grapes). Cereal and milk with a choice of fruit or oatmeal with yogurt and a choice of fruit can give a child with ADHD the energy they need to go about their day.

Behavior Therapy

Before any medication is recommended, preschool and school-aged children ages 4 to 5 with ADHD undergo behavior therapy to mitigate their condition’s symptoms. Most behavior therapy involves training for the parents where they learn how to correctly redirect their child, keep them focused on one task at a time, and find ways to learn based on their personality.

For example, ADHD children who fidget constantly can stay more focused if they have a fine motor manipulative outlet nearby. While a child with a fidget popper may appear distracted while popping the balls in the toy, it can do the opposite in helping the child stay on task while completing a worksheet or working one-on-one with a classroom aide to complete classwork.

Health Management Tips

ADHD patients can try these health management tips to manage their symptoms:

●     Keep a limit on screen time spent watching television, playing on a cell phone, and on tablets or computers.

●     Getting enough sleep each night that’s age-appropriate.

●     Exercise daily a certain amount of time that’s age-appropriate.

●     Continuing to consume healthy and balanced meals daily with a limit on sugary confections and drinks.

What Special Education Services Do Children With ADHD Receive?

Only 33% of children receive behavioral classroom management from the school they attend, whether public or private. These statistics show that it pays to speak up when your child needs the extra help to succeed in their education.

As a parent, once you have received a positive diagnosis that your child has ADHD, call your child’s school to schedule a meeting with the special education services representative. They can work with you to create an Individualized Education Program (IEP) plan dedicated to your child’s specific educational needs.

A 504 plan is named for section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The 504 plan enhances the learning environment so that children with ADHD have the same learning opportunities as their peers. This may involve hiring a one-on-one classroom aide to help a child with ADHD.

Treatment for ADHD in San Diego, CA

While most people confuse ADHD as a learning disability, it’s not. Children with ADHD can learn new things just as well as their peers, but it takes a different approach to stay focused. Take a moment to understand your child’s needs and personality if FDEthey has ADHD so that you and their school can help them along the way in their educational journey. 

If you want to learn more about treatment for ADHD, call The Mental Health Center of San Diego at 858-465-7722 today.