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.

Questions Parents and Educators Can Ask to Start Conversations About Using Terms Like Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, and Dysgraphia

When parents and educators use the same terms to describe a child’s challenges, it’s easier for them to communicate and work together. Parents and educators may have different opinions about specific terms like dyslexia or more general terms like learning disabilities. Understanding these terms and agreeing on which to use can help prevent confusion and conflict. It can also lead to a shared understanding of a child’s needs. Eleven diverse national organizations joined together to develop ideas for having this conversation. We hope this resource will add clarity so terminology doesn’t get in the way. Then parents and educators can… Read More »

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 »

Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal

The latest issue (Volume 20, Issue 2) of, “Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal,” has recently been released. In this issue you will find a wide variety of articles that continue to expand our knowledge base on important topics in the field of learning disabilities. This issue is published by Sagamore Publishing for LDA . Grab a PDF of one of the current articles, find out more about the Journal and learn how to subscribe and receive a copy of this timely issue by clicking the title of this article or the image to the left.

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 children at some time during their development. However, a person with learning disabilities has a cluster of these symptoms which do not disappear as s/he grows older. 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 »

Treatment of ADHD

Treatment options for children and adolescents with ADHD include medication, psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and social skills training. There are times when the entire family of a child with ADHD can benefit from support groups, or parenting skills training. The Learning Disabilities Association of America does not take any position with regard to the treatment of ADHD. ADHD is not a specific learning disability. No single treatment is the answer for every child. A child may sometimes have undesirable side effects to a medication that would make that particular treatment unacceptable. And, if a child with ADHD also has anxiety or… Read More »

Doctor to Doctor: Information on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder for Pediatricians and other Physicians

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry use the same criteria for diagnosing Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)–the DSM 5. Individuals with ADHD might be hyperactive, inattentive, or impulsive. Before going into detail, let’s look at each of these terms. Criteria describing each behavior can be found in the diagnostic manual. They can be seen with children and adolescents as well as with adults. Hyperactivity does not necessarily mean a child who runs wild and jumps on furniture. These behaviors might be present; however, more commonly we find a child who is restless and who… Read More »

Medications for ADHD/ADD

ADHD is a neurological disorder resulting from a deficiency of a specific neurotransmitter in specific areas of the brain. This transmitter is norepinephrine or one of its building blocks, dopamine or dopa. Any medication that increases the level of this neurotransmitter in the areas of the brain involved with ADHD will significantly reduce the behaviors associated with ADHD. This article reviews the medications currently available to treat ADHD. The group of medications called “stimulants” are most successful in treating ADHD. (They are called stimulants because they stimulate nerve cells to produce more of the deficient neurotransmitter not because they stimulate… Read More »

The Role of Psychotherapy in the Treatment of ADHD Through the Lifespan

Within the healthcare professions, there has been a movement towards the use of evidenced based or scientifically validated treatments. This movement is reflected in mental health care as well. However, the first wave of empirically supported treatment research has focused rather narrowly on efforts at relieving the specific symptoms used to define diagnosed conditions. While this is certainly a valid means of assessing treatment effectiveness, there are other benefits to be derived from treatment, particularly for individuals with chronic neurologic or medical conditions. For example, we would not argue that someone with a terminal medical condition could not be helped… 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 »

The Concept of ADHD Is Changing. How Does This Impact You or Your Child?

The concept of inattention, one of the three behaviors found with ADHD, is changing. And, with this change, the explanation of what is ADHD is expanding. The understanding of inattention has shifted from the inability to stay on task to a broader concept called Executive Function Disorder (EFD). This expansion of the concept of inattention is a positive move. However, until a fuller understanding of  EFD is part of the thinking of the clinicians who diagnose and treat individuals with ADHD, only part of the problem might be seen, leaving other results of EFD not addressed. Marcus, a ten-year-old fifth… 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 »