Dyslexia and ADD

During my years of dyslexia tutoring, I have noticed how Attention Deficit Disorder and dyslexia symptoms can sometimes be intermingled, leading to difficulty in assessing a dyslexic child’s needs.

One of the major symptoms of ADD is difficulty with concentration. In the subjects of reading and spelling, ADD sometimes causes a child to have difficulty focusing on the material that they are reading, or the words that they are spelling.  An ADD child may often become distracted during school or tutoring, and engage in techniques to avoid having to do the work that is given to them. For a dyslexic child who has not received dyslexia tutoring, being given a book to read or words to spell may promote a similar response. A dyslexic child will often feel so incapable when it comes to these subjects, that they will try to avoid the assignment at all costs, and may even develop a physical aversion to it (turning away, for example). As a dyslexia tutor, I have seen many cases of this. As a result of the similarities between how an ADD student and a student with dyslexia react to reading and spelling, it may be challenging to determine what the child’s primary difficulties are. For a dyslexia tutor, it is always important to keep this in mind when working with new students.

For dyslexia tutors, the best way to determine if a child has dyslexia instead of ADD is to simply get the child to read and spell some words. Once an experienced dyslexia tutor has the child reading and spelling, they are able to clearly determine the true nature of the child’s educational challenges.


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