ADHD & Dyslexia: The Most Common Comorbid Learning Disability
Having ADHD can already be a challenge, but what if you also have dyslexia? What are the similarities and differences of these two conditions, and how can they be managed simultaneously? The answers and more in this article.
Table of Contents
ADHD & Dyslexia: Most Common Comorbid Learning Disability
1. According To International Dyslexia Association
2. Children With Dyslexia Encounter These Misconceptions
~ Dyslexic Children are Lazy
~ Children with Dyslexia are Not Smart
~ Dyslexia Stems From Poor Parenting
~ People with Dyslexia Read Words Backwards
3. What Developmental Dyslexia Is
4. Dyslexia And ADHD Brains Are Wired Differently
5. Overlapping ADHD and Dyslexia Symptoms: Why They Can Be Confusing
6. Get The Right Support
ADHD & Dyslexia FAQs
ADHD & Dyslexia: Most Common Learning Disorder
Many of us are familiar with the comorbidities that can co-exist with our ADHD brain. Case in point: we understand that some people with ADHD can experience difficulty learning new things. 😵
The struggles some children with undiagnosed ADHD experience with studying and enhancing their thinking capabilities can be misinterpreted as laziness or not putting in the effort to concentrate. Take a step back and recall your days in school. There might have been times when teachers found your behavior disruptive or that you were not following instructions.
An undiagnosed ADHD can pave the way for confusion and frustration. After all, many of us might have a hard time understanding why we struggle so much when it comes to learning.
Moments like this - where we experience confusion and frustration - don't solve the underlying challenges. Instead, they further complicate our difficulties. According to statistics, between 30 to 50% of the population of people with ADHD tend to struggle with learning. 😭 What’s even more concerning is that these students may not be receiving the proper, reasonable support or solutions to their struggles. The thing is, the risk of having learning difficulties may arise if we don't address the situation proactively.
Learning disabilities seem to occur when a student's academic achievement is significantly lower than what is expected for their age and intellectual abilities. The challenges we face in learning can be different from each other. It can be in reading, writing, mathematics, or any other subject. If you are experiencing any of these difficulties, you should consult a professional to have yourself checked.
There are different types of learning disabilities that a person can experience, and one of the most common is Dyslexia. Let's learn more about this most common learning disability that a person with ADHD can experience.
According To International Dyslexia Association
ADHD and dyslexia are distinct conditions that can overlap. Hence, it’s common to be confused about the nature of these two conditions. They are two different neurodivergent disorders that can co-exist with one another, but don't necessarily cause each one to occur. You can distinguish Dyslexia and ADHD from each other based on symptoms, brain function, and patterns of inheritance.
Dyslexia is a speciﬁc learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by deﬁciencies in the ability to process written or spoken language. 🥺 Dyslexia occurs in individuals, especially children, while they are still learning to read. 📚 They often have difficulty reading aloud and may also experience inaccurate word recognition and slow or poor reading ﬂuency.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, on the other hand, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that sometimes begins in childhood and can persist into adolescence and adulthood. It is characterized by symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. One of the most common ADHD symptoms that can manifest in a person is distractibility, which makes it difficult to focus on a task or activity. 😵
As per the recent statistics of the International Dyslexia Association, for every ten children diagnosed with Dyslexia, three of them can also have ADHD. Let's know more about the specifics of having this learning disability in relation to ADHD.
Children With Dyslexia Encounter These Misconceptions
Dyslexia and ADHD aren't safe from having stereotypes since the general population may not understand them completely. There might be instances when these hasty generalizations become the sole definition of these neurodivergent disorders, which can invalidate the experiences of other dyslexic students or other people with ADHD. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about children with dyslexia:
#1 - Dyslexic Children are Lazy
They can be easily misunderstood as "lazy" because they might not be able to complete their work as fast as others or might need more time to compensate for their learning disability. On the contrary, dyslexic individuals often work harder than their peers to complete school assignments and tasks.
#2 - Children with Dyslexia are Not Smart
The truth is, intelligence has nothing to do with dyslexia. Many individuals with dyslexia are considered "gifted" because of their high IQ levels. ❤️ Some of the most famous people with dyslexia include Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Oprah Winfrey.
#3 - Dyslexia Stems From Poor Parenting
This can be one of the most damaging and hurtful misconceptions about dyslexia. Dyslexia has nothing to do with how a child was raised or the kind of environment they grew up in. It is a neurological disorder caused by a difference in the way the brain processes information. However, dyslexia may stem from a dyslexic parent because it can be passed down genetically.
#4 - People with Dyslexia Read Words Backwards
This is a common misconception because many believe that dyslexia means reading letters and words backward. However, dyslexia does not necessarily mean that an individual reads letters or words backward. 📝There’s simply a difference in the way the brain processes information.
Besides, don’t forget that there are several types of dyslexia, and some of them deal with sounds and numbers.
Knowing these misconceptions about Dyslexia can help stop the spread of false information and create a more inclusive society for people with this specific learning disability.
ADHD and dyslexia can be a real struggle for people affected by them, so let's stop adding salt to the wound and give them the chance to show that while they have a different way of thinking, living, and processing information, they can do just as great as the rest! 💪
What Developmental Dyslexia Is
Developmental Dyslexia, or Dyslexia in simpler terms, is a neurological disorder characterized by difficulty in processing language - both written and spoken - despite having average intelligence and adequate opportunities to learn.
It is believed to be caused by a difference in how the brain processes information. There are several symptoms of Dyslexia, but the most common one is difficulty in reading. 📚 This can manifest in several ways, such as taking longer to read, making more mistakes while reading, or having difficulty understanding what they have read.
However, having Dyslexia doesn't just end there. It can also be experienced with the following:
- Difficulty in learning new words
- Trouble pronouncing words
- Slow or poor reading comprehension
- Difficulty in writing
- Misspelling words frequently
- Slow and staggered speech
Developmental Dyslexia sometimes originates from different factors, but the most commonly known contributor is genetics. It can be passed down from a dyslexic parent to their child or an inherited trait from ancestors. However, the fundamental root cause of having this is still unknown. There are different theories as to how this neurological disorder develops, but more research is needed to have a solid answer.
Dyslexia And ADHD Brains Are Wired Differently
Even though many articles tackle dyslexia online, there is still a lot to learn about this language-based learning disability. The same goes for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. These two neurological disorders have a lot in common, and it's about time we talk about how they're wired differently.
There’s a huge difference between ADHD diagnosis and dyslexia diagnosis. ADHD is diagnosed using the DSM-5 or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In contrast, dyslexia is diagnosed by considering an individual's family history, cognitive abilities, academic achievements, and other language skills.
To have an ADHD diagnosis, professional medical advice should be given based on your experiences in difficulty paying attention, working memory, or executive functioning struggles. On the other hand, dyslexia is diagnosed by assessing your reading and writing skills, as well as how your brain processes information.
ADHD and dyslexia can coexist, which means having both disorders simultaneously. However, this is not always the case, as some individuals may only experience one or the other. Having both ADHD and dyslexia can be a handful to deal with. Still, with the proper support and understanding, you'll be equipped with how to handle both ADHD and dyslexia successfully.
Overlapping ADHD and Dyslexia Symptoms: Why They Can Be Confusing
Many people think that dyslexia is all about struggles with reading. On the other hand, many view ADHD as a condition that causes a person to be “hyped up” and to not get tired because of their unlimited energy supply. 🙌 As different as these two conditions are, they still have similar symptoms that can make diagnosis more challenging.
One of the confusions between ADHD and Dyslexia relates to reading. Other people can think that their reading disability may be caused by undiagnosed ADHD, mainly by inattention, trouble focusing, and “faulty” executive function. On the other hand, those affected by dyslexia might think that they are recognized as such because they have difficulty sustaining mental effort, struggle with phonemic awareness, or have learning disabilities.
Another overlapping symptom of these two disorders may revolve around self-esteem. People with ADHD often tend to have low self-esteem because they can be made fun of for their hyperactive behavior or are told they can't focus on anything. 😭 On the other hand, individuals with dyslexia may experience the same thing because of the way they process language. During class activities that require reading or writing, they may be left out and feel like they are not good enough.
Making mistakes can be experienced by patients with dyslexia or ADHD. The symptoms of both of these conditions can result in frequent errors. Also, forgetting things you read can sometimes be an overlapping symptom and can be pretty confusing for medical reviewers to determine if you have ADHD or Dyslexia.
It's not easy having either of these disorders, let alone both. The best way to deal with them is to get diagnosed first to receive the appropriate treatment and accommodations you need immediately. After all, knowing your struggles can help you understand yourself more and create a plan on how to better deal with your condition.
Get The Right Support
According to the latest evidence-based research, as high as 50% of the ADHD population can also have a learning-related chronic condition. One of the comorbidities that are linked to ADHD is dyslexia. If you tend to struggle or feel like you’re struggling with both ADHD and Dyslexia, it is crucial to have the right ADHD support for you.
Here are some tips that you can take to ease your struggles:
- There's no such thing as "Too Late for ADHD Diagnosis" or “Too Late for Dyslexia Diagnosis.” Suppose you find yourself having difficulty managing ADHD symptoms and significant problems are already affecting your daily life. In that case, it's time to consult mental health professionals and talk to them about it.
- Don't be too hard on yourself. 😘 Remember to be kind and treat your brain with care, even if you have ADHD or dyslexia or both. They may be neurological conditions out of your control, but it's essential to keep in mind that you're still doing your best.
- Find a supportive group or community where you can openly talk about your experiences with ADHD and dyslexia. This can help you feel less alone in your struggles and give you an idea of how other people handle their difficulties. Live chat sessions are also available, so talk to people who are willing to listen and understand your experiences.
- Remember that people with these neurodivergent disorders aren't lazy or stupid. We just think and learn differently. Keep an open mind about your capabilities and what you can achieve despite having ADHD or dyslexia. Remember that other people with the same struggles even have above-average intelligence.
- You can talk to educational psychologists to help you with different learning techniques that you may utilize to improve your phonemic awareness, reading speed, speed and accuracy of recall, and other cognitive skills.
- If you notice someone struggling with the same things you have, be willing to lend a helping hand. 👌 Showing support and understanding can go a long way for people with ADHD and dyslexia. Please direct them to mental health experts for detection of signs and symptoms and treatment.
- Behavior Therapy and ADHD Medicines can help you manage the symptoms of ADHD. Remember that these things can also be used to help you cope with the challenges of having both ADHD and dyslexia. Ask for possible ADHD treatment from your psychologist or psychiatrist that doesn't affect your dyslexia.
While having ADHD and Dyslexia may be hard, don’t lose hope. ❤️ With understanding, support, and effort, you'll be able to manage your symptoms and achieve success in your endeavors. Remember that these struggles don't define you as a person and that you are still capable of reaching your goals. Seek help when needed, and always keep in mind that you're not alone in this fight.
ADHD and Dyslexia: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. Is it common for people with ADHD to have learning difficulties?
It is quite common. According to reports, as many as 50% of people who have ADHD also struggle with a learning difficulty, like dyslexia.
2. What’s the difference between ADHD and dyslexia?
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to pay attention, decide, organize, recall, and stay still. Many people with ADHD can be easily distracted, impulsive, or “hyped up.” On the other hand, dyslexia affects the person’s ability to process written and spoken language. They might have difficulty reading or writing.
3. Is it possible to manage ADHD and dyslexia successfully at the same time?
Yes! Having both ADHD and dyslexia can be extra challenging, but with the right diagnosis, treatment, and support, you can live your best life while having these two conditions!