LD/ADHD Basics

Five students gathered around a school bookLearning Disabilities (LD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) affects millions of children and adults in school and in everyday life. It is a life-long condition. Fortunately, with the right understanding, support, and appropriate interventions, individuals with learning disabilities can become successful students and adults. Learning the basics about LD and ADHD is an important start to getting help. After the signs and symptoms of LD are recognized, the appropriate assessment and evaluation will be needed to determine the right strategies to help the individual.

Testing Accommodations for ADHD: Evidence that the Status Quo is Ineffective

Here at LDA, we’re very proud of our quarterly journal, Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal. The following is an excerpt from a study published in our most recent issue. Access to the entire article is free through December 20th and can be found by clicking here. If you’d like more information about the Journal, please head over to Sagamore Publishing for more information. By: Alison Pritchard, Ph.D., ABPP ADHD is the most common psychiatric condition of childhood, with prevalence estimated at 1 in 11 American youth (Pastor et al., 2015). Students with ADHD present an enormous concern for educational policy-makers,… Read More »

Introducing The Hybrid Teacher: Hope for Students with LD in the General Education Classroom

Author’s note: Versions of this article have appeared in LDA Today (formerly LDA NEWSBRIEFS), as well as archived on www.LDonline.org . It is also included in serialized form in the author’s blog on The Huffington Post.. Minor modifications have been made in this version, so that it could be shared as part of the LDA Calendar “31 Days of LD” that has been created to celebrate October as Learning Disabilities Awareness Month. I am pleased to have it included in this creative repository of helpful and informative materials. I hope you enjoy it. I would appreciate hearing your response to it.… Read More »

Rights and Responsibilities of College Students with Learning Disabilities (LD)

Download/Print Rights and Responsibilities of College Students with Learning Disabilities Info Sheet Legal Rights of College Students with LD Academic accommodations are required by law for eligible college students with LD. Accommodations are changes in the learning and testing environments that give college students with LD an equal opportunity to learn. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its amendments (ADAAA) require that reasonable accommodations be made available to college students who have current documentation of learning disabilities and who request learning and/or testing accommodations. Student Responsibilities Student responsibilities include the following: To self-identify as a person with a disability… Read More »

Protecting Students with Disabilities: FAQs about Section 504 and the Education of Children with Disabilities

What is Section 504? Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Section 504 provides: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . .” The Section 504 regulations require a school district to provide… Read More »

How to Pick a Lawyer

People sometimes ask: “How do I pick a lawyer?” The starting point is to understand the nature of your legal problem. What is the Exact Nature of My Legal Problem? The individual with specific learning disabilities (LD) and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may require the assistance of a lawyer in connection with problems in areas such as: elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education, professional licensing, and employment. Problems may pose legal issues under the IDEA, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and state laws. Occasionally, criminal law issues may be posed. Once the… Read More »

Symptoms of Learning Disabilities

The symptoms of learning disabilities are a diverse set of characteristics which affect development and achievement. Some of these symptoms can be found in all individuals at some time during their development. However, a person with learning disabilities has a cluster of these symptoms which do not disappear as the person ages. Most frequently displayed symptoms: short attention span, poor memory, difficulty following directions, inability to discriminate between/among letters, numerals, or sounds, poor reading and/or writing ability, eye-hand coordination problems; poorly coordinated, difficulties with sequencing, and/or disorganization and other sensory difficulties. Other characteristics that may be present: performs differently from… Read More »

Parents’ Right to Request Evaluation for Special Education Services at Any Time

Parents who are aware their child is having a difficult time with reading, mathematics, written expression or other aspects of school work might suspect that the child has a learning disability (LD), also known as specific learning disabilities (SLD), and may be in need of special education services. As a parent, guardian or advocate, you have a legal right to request that your public school evaluate your child for special education.  Read LDA’s Position Paper on Right to an Evaluation of a Child for Special Education Services to learn more about this important legal right and the first step towards helping your… Read More »

Tips for Parents of Children with LD/ADHD

Parents are always looking for hints that will make learning easier for their LD/ADHD child. This article suggests some helpful tips that LDA parents have learned from one another over the years. It includes tips for organizational problems, auditory problems, visual and motor problems, language-expressive problems and language-receptive problems as well as tips for parenting in general. Providing structure in your family can be a good first step. Also, your local LDA parent group can often offer more tips and, most importantly, offer parental support that you need. Contact your state or local affiliate for more information and possible referrals in… Read More »

What to Expect When Your Child Has a Learning Disability: Identification and Diagnosis

Often the child’s teacher will notice the first symptoms of a Specific Learning Disability. Parents may also notice symptoms that are different from those the teacher sees. That’s why it is so important for teachers and parents to share notes on the development of a child. These conversations may lead to an evaluation for a diagnosis of SLD and eligibility for special education services. Symptoms teachers might observe: trouble learning the connection between letters and sounds, confuses basic words like run, eat, want, makes consistent reading and spelling errors including letter reversals (b/d), inversions (m/w), transpositions (felt/left), and substitutions (house/home),… Read More »

Reading Instruction: Tips for Teachers

Reading is the single most important educational skill your students will learn. Understanding the organization and meaning of text and instruction in both phonics and literature is essential to helping young children read. By understanding the prerequisite skills for reading, teachers can build a solid foundation for their students to learn and succeed in school. Here are some ways to create appreciation of the written word, develop awareness of printed language, teach the alphabet, develop phonological and phonemic awareness, teach the relation of sounds and letters, teach children how to sound out words and to spell words, and help children… Read More »

Parenting Children with Learning Disabilities, ADHD, and Related Disorders

Children with learning disabilities, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and related disorders puzzle parents because of their many abilities and disabilities. It can also be difficult to understand how much of their behavior is the nature of the condition and how much is oppositional. It is all too easy for parents to sense a child’s feelings of inadequacy and then feel bad as a parent. Parenting approaches that include clear, concise instructions; structure without rigidity; nurturing a child’s gifts and interests; and constant approval of positive behavior help parents feel better and help children feel safe. It takes time for both… Read More »

Social Skills and Learning Disabilities

The consequences of learning disabilities are rarely confined to school or work. Many areas of life are affected, including the role of the person with learning disabilities in their family, relationships with friends, non-academic functioning such as sports or dancing, self-esteem and self-confidence to handle daily situations. Individuals who have learning disabilities may be less observant in their social environment, may misinterpret the social behavior of others at times, and may not learn as easily from experiences or social “cues” as their friends. Some children may exhibit an immaturity and social ineptness due to their learning disability. While seeking acceptance,… Read More »

General Tips on Advocacy by Parents

When we use the term “advocacy,” we are referring both to the ability to persuade other people to accept your point of view, and to the skills and approaches you need when you do research and preparation to support the argument you are presenting or “advocating.” Parents can and should: lobby for adequate resources and staff qualifications support sympathetic staff be a team leader notice what’s being done right be firm but optimistic recognize professional knowledge maintain a provincial/territorial presence ask for recognition of, and information on, the big picture/context resist quick fixes do not overburden your child expect change,… Read More »

Evaluating Children to Determine Eligibility for Special Education Services and Reevaluation Requirements

Evaluating children to determine eligibility for special education services is an issue with which many parents and educators struggle. There are many factors to consider during a comprehensive evaluation of a child for possible eligibility for special education services. It’s important that parent(s) know their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), understand the process, and ensure their child receives the appropriate services. School districts need to provide parents their procedural safeguards (rights) guaranteed under IDEA before a full and individual initial evaluation takes place. When a child receives special education services for an extended period of time,… Read More »

A Learning Disability is Only One Part of a Child

When a child is born, it is usually a time of joy for the whole family. How new parents respond to this new little person is influenced by many factors. Some feelings revolve around how comfortable parents are in taking care of the child, whether the child was wanted, and whether the child is welcomed into an intact family. The personality of the infant as defined by Chess and Thomas is also a factor. Some are easy, contented babies, others may be fussy. Tactilely defensive babies, who do not want to be held, may cause the mother to question her… Read More »

Epilepsy and Learning Disabilities

If one area of the brain is wired differently, it is not uncommon that other areas of the brain will be wired differently. The relationship between epilepsy and learning disabilities is but one example. Epilepsy, also called seizure disorders, is characterized by recurrent seizures. It is associated with structural or biochemical brain abnormalities. It is estimated that 1% of the general population has epilepsy. This disorder occurs more commonly in boys than girls. About 40% of individuals with epilepsy between the ages of 4 and 15 have one or more additional neurological disorders. The most common ones are mental retardation,… Read More »

Why Are There So Many Different Medications to Treat ADHD? Or, Are There That Many?

ADHD is a neurologically-based disorder resulting from a deficiency of a specific neurotransmitter or group of neurotransmitters in specific areas of the brain. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals in the space between nerve cells (i.e., in the synapse) that transmit signals from one nerve cell to the next. The primary neurotransmitter involved is called norepinephrine. Two of the building blocks needed to produce this neurotransmitter, dopa and dopamine, are also involved. The purpose of the primary medications used to treat ADHD is to stimulate specific cells within the brain to produce more of the deficient neurotransmitter. Because of this role, these… Read More »

Changes in DSM 5 and its Impact on Individuals with Learning Disabilities

The “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual” or DSM is a manual for use by physicians as well as other health and mental health professionals. Its purpose is to provide clear descriptions of diagnostic categories in order to enable medical clinicians and investigators to diagnose, communicate, study, and treat people with specific disorders. With each revision of this manual, new knowledge has permitted the diagnostic criteria to become more specific; thus, enabling further clarity of the disorder. The American Psychiatric Association (APA), in collaboration with other mental health organizations, updates the criteria for mental disorders, which includes  Learning Disorders, Motor Skills Disorders,… Read More »

Graphic Organizers

What is a graphic organizer? Graphic organizers are visual thinking tools that make pictures of your thoughts. The pictures demonstrate relationships between facts, concepts, or ideas, and guide your thinking as you design the map or diagram. People who have learning disabilities are often visual learners and thinkers. That means they understand and remember information better when ideas, words, and concepts are associated with pictures, diagrams, charts, and maps. Why use graphic organizers? Graphic organizers can help to visualize and construct ideas, organize and/or sequence information, plan what to write, increase reading comprehension, brainstorm, organize problems and solutions, compare and… Read More »