11 answers

Is ADD/ADHD Considered a Learning Disability?

Does anyone know? I thought it is a learning disability, but I was told it is not (however, I still think it is). Also, if you don't know, do you know what kind of professional I could ask - a social worker, a developmental pediatrician, pediatric psychologist? Thanks.

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ADHD is a recognized disability according to my sons psychiatrist. And is according to the Americans with disabilties act.

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ADHD is a recognized disability according to my sons psychiatrist. And is according to the Americans with disabilties act.

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Where the issue comes into play is that ADHD-x (x= I, H, C) is not technically LD, although its generally under the LD umbrella in common use/speak.

Sort of like how an apt is not a house, but IS a home, and gets called a house "Lets go over to your house", or in "house rules".

Or how college kids aren't children, but get called kids, none the less.

So technically; ADHD is a disability, but not a learning disability.

If you want to REALLY bake your noodle: ADHD as far as 2e is concerned (twice exceptional ... Meaning gifted+LD) is the quirkiest line of all... Because ADHD kids are nearly always gifted, and qualify as 2e, even though its not technically LD (so do other disorders like Aspies which are nearly alway gifted as well).

One thing to keep in mind: ADHD kids and adults are OFTEN (and possibly usually) successful to EXTREMELY successful adults. The hardest part for most ADHD people is k12 public school... Because very little else could be WORSE designed to bring out every single negative aspect and block/hide/make useless all the positive ones.

Imagine a school where kids had to attend for 22 hours a day, weren't allowed to eat, had 6 radio stations blasting over the teacher, and bullying was ENCOURAGED.

That's what standard K12 is like for ADHD kids. NOT what it's like for neurotypical kids.

It's a miracle any of us make it through in one piece.

There are some schools (mostly private) which couldn't be better designed for ADHD ... But they're few and far between. UNTIL you hit college.

GammaG was very wrong in one very key point: ADHD kids don't have ANY problems paying attention ... To interesting things. The surgeon analogy? In medical land, you'll find more ADHD types in surgery & trauma than ANYWHERE else, but you'll find us in Peds, Ortho, Labs, etc. as well. Often, ADHD med students are top in their class. Why? Because hyperfocus (the opposite of distractibility, aka HYPOfocus) is PART of the disorder. We lose all track of time (15 hour surgery? No problem!!) because we are INTENT on things that are interesting to us.

Same goes for other fields.

Most ADHD kids graduate k12 by the skin of their teeth... Only to go on to grad in the top 10, 5, 1% of their specialized studies.

Or they skip higher Ed for a few decades and go military, or sports, or arts... And excel THERE.

That's the #1 trick with ADHD: Interest.

And anyone who tells you that you HAVE to do boring stuff in life... Never set their sights on being successful enough to hire a maid and delegate the 'boring' to those who don't find it as attractive as dental work without Novocain.... Or just didn't finish the thought: you have to do boring stuff, but you don't have to make your life boring. Outsources as much of ghe boring as possible, and what you can't, get creative with it.

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ADHD is not a learning disability but it is common to have learning disabilities along side it.

I have ADHD as does all four of my kids, none of us have learning disabilities.

It is actually common enough knowledge that I would imagine anyone touched by children with ADHD would know the answer.

All of my kids have seen or see pediatric psychiatrist. I say have seen since two of my children are adults.
Mandy is correct that it is a disability, well it is called a disability, you would be hard pressed to prove that with my family, still, it is not a *learning* disability. A learning disabled person is not a protected class where someone with ADHD is a protected class.

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From my understanding It is not a learning disability, It affects ability to concentrate, but not actually learn the material.

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Well, I think you can take your pick on the professional to ask. I also think that people who say that ADHD is not a learning disability either have never seen a child struggle because of it, OR they are so invested in not labeling their child like this, that they deny it's a learning disability.

That's my opinion.

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It's a health impairment. Medical disability but not a learning disability. So as a medical disability, it is covered under section 504 of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), hence the name "504 plan" for ADHD accommodations. ADHD is in the same category of disability as things like a hearing impairment, physical disability, vision impairment, mood disorder such as depression or anxiety, etc. Accommodations must be made so that the child's disability does not interfere with his or her access to "free and appropriate" public education. 504 accommodations for ADHD could include things like being seated at the front and center of the class, being given subtle cues to re-focus attention, being allowed to go to the nurse's office to take medication, etc.

A child with ADHD can and often does also have learning disabilities, but those have to be diagnosed via an educational assessment. If a child is in 25th percentile or below in certain tested areas, he or she is considered learning disabled and would also be eligible for an IEP (an Individual Education Plan). An IEP has more meat to it than a 504 plan does and includes things like being pulled out of a classroom for OT, PT, or small group instruction, extra time on timed tests, being allowed access to a word processor to be able to type open response answers, being graded on a smaller number of spelling words, leeway for late assignments (being allowed partial credit for something late vs. no credit), etc.

Anyone who works with ADHD children (school psychologist, learning specialist, principal, pediatrician, psychologist, psychiatrist etc.) should be able to tell you the same thing.

If you have a child with ADHD who you think needs accommodations, the ADHD diagnosis from a doctor is all you need to get a 504 plan in place. If you think your child also has learning disabilities, you need to request an educational evaluation in writing. The school district has 10 days to respond and will schedule the test. They have a limited time to do the evaluation (30 or 60 days or something) and then a limited time to schedule a meeting to inform you of their findings. There are a lot of procedural rights and safeguards around this process. When you get those results, they will determine whether or not your child qualifies for and would benefit from additional services.

FWIW my oldest son didn't qualify for an IEP his first time (1st grade), was dx'd with ADHD and put on a 504 plan and privately tutored at our expense in 2nd grade, and in 4th grade was re-tested and did qualify for services, which he still receives in 9th grade now. IEP testing needs to be done every 3 years to make sure the child still needs services.

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It is a developmental disability vs. a learning disability. The reason this can make a difference is that some health insurance covers developmental delays/disabilities but NOT learning disabilities.

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I tried to fight that battle 15+ years ago with our son. He's now 22 years old.

The school system was worthless. When I asked about testing, his teacher said he was 'just a boy'. But she was the one having a fit because he wasn't up to reading level, during the February parent teacher conference. Kinda late in the year to be addressing it now, especially since I had asked about it in November! Anywhoo, I asked our pediatrician who sent us to a PhD Child psychologist for testing. When we went back to our pediatrician, he commented that he spends over 1/2 of his practice telling parents there is NOT an issue, but in his opinion, from looking at the notes from the psychologist, he did have ADHD. No parent want's their child labeled, so this is not something we went looking for, or wanted. We did medicated him until he was about a sophomore in HS. By that time, he understood he needed to sit in the front of the class, ask for help, etc.

But back to his early days and his lack of a 'learning disability'. He is very smart, but kept forgetting books, losing homework, etc. Now mind you, he did have a clinical diagnosis of ADHD and on meds. I asked school for an IEP or at least a 504 plan, and was told no because he did not have a learning disability. Whatever! I figured out things on my own. Went in and taped a file folder on the side of his desk so he could slide papers into it instead of them 'getting lost' in his desk or binder. I also ordered a complete second set of text books to keep at home. When I told my doctor these things he blew a gasket! Said I should not have had to do all that.

I think, or at least from what I remember, I could have pushed the issue and won. By having a clinical diagnosis and on meds should have qualified him for at least some special compensation.

Our son, as Riley said, has done very well. We ended up putting both kids in a private school, for a variety of reasons when he was in 6th grade. This was a very advanced college prep school that teaches 1-2 grade levels above the public schools. Because it was a smaller school, with small classes and teachers/faculties that cared (and not stretched beyond their limits), he did very well.

I've gotten rid of some of my favorite books/resources over the years but one book I remember was "Driven to Distraction". I'm sure you could Google resources now.

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