Attention Deficit Disorder, in itself, is not a learning disability. The term “learning disability” typically refers to a perceptual disability, such as an auditory or visual processing disorder, like autism or dyslexia. A person with ADD, however, has no problems perceiving or interpreting information. Therefore, it does not qualify as a learning disability.
Although it is often jumbled in with the mass of “disabilities”, ADD actually does not hinder the process of learning. A child with ADD can intake information, process it accordingly, and preserve it in memory, just like any other person. The problem comes with getting them to pay attention long enough to hear the information in the first place!
A child with Attention Deficit Disorder may have difficulties in school and with learning in general, but it is not due to a learning disability. Often, when a child is treated for ADD, their academic performance improves by leaps and bounds. On the other hand, an individual with ADD may not have any difficulty in learning at all; this will vary by person.
However, while ADD is not a learning disability, it is often accompanied by one or many. Some children, particularly at the preschool age, may have difficulty interpreting sounds or words and may also have speech issues. Older children may have problems spelling and reading, writing, and arithmetic disorders may arise. Likewise, dyslexia, a reading disorder, is common in children with ADD. However, none of these disabilities is inherent to Attention Deficit Disorder. While some children may have them, many will not.
Whereas ADD may cause difficulty in learning, steps may be taken to help the child perform well in spite of the disorder. Most ADD children do better with a schedule – the exact same thing, day in and day out. Because they may have problems with memory retention and are easily distracted, this helps them stay on track, because they are acting out of habit.
The same goes for organization; a set way to do things and places to put things makes it easier to remember and stay on course. On the same token, teaching the child to utilize organizational binders and planners also helps them stay organized and keep up with important assignments.
During class time, it helps if an interactive approach is taken as opposed to a lecturing style – this keeps the child’s attention better and decreases the likelihood of distractions.
The most important thing is to not make ADD a crutch for the child; they can grow and be successful, even with this disorder.
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