Many children with dyslexia also have ADHD. How can we help these children make progress and discern which symptoms come from each issue? Due to the natures of dyslexia and ADHD, the symptoms are sometimes confused with each other.
One of the primary symptoms of ADHD is difficulty focusing. When it comes to reading, spelling and homework, a child with ADHD may struggle with these things, just because they have a hard time sitting down to focus on them. In addition, a child with ADHD may be distracted by things that are going on around them, or may engage in avoidance techniques when they are required to do any schoolwork. A child with dyslexia may engage in similar behavior, but for different reasons. For a child with dyslexia, reading, spelling and homework can be overwhelming and frustrating, and they may constantly associate these things with failure. As a result, they may try to avoid these things as much as possible, and distract any adults who are working with them, so that they do not risk “failing” once again. If a parent sits down to read with a child who has dyslexia, the child may seem constantly distracted or even physically turn away from the book.
For this reason, the symptoms of ADHD and dyslexia are sometimes confused. So, how can we tell them apart? The first, and most important step, is to learn the symptoms of dyslexia and ADHD in detail. There are a wide variety of symptoms associated with both of these issues, and by familiarizing yourself with the symptoms, you will be able to recognize them when you see them. Another great strategy is to have your child read out loud to you. If a child has ADHD, but not dyslexia, you may find that their reading is decent, once you are able to have them sit down and focus on the reading. However, if the child has dyslexia, you will start to notice many of the common symptoms of dyslexia, such as skipping words, difficulty decoding words, general reading accuracy trouble, and others.
If a child has both dyslexia and ADHD, it may be more challenging to properly classify the symptoms. A good strategy is is to enroll the child in dyslexia tutoring, so that they are getting the help that they need for reading, spelling and reading comprehension. The dyslexia tutoring will help them make progress in these areas, and also help you better clarify which challenges are related to ADHD, rather than dyslexia. Additionally, a good dyslexia tutor is skilled at recognizing the symptoms of both dyslexia and ADHD, because they often have experience working with children who have both. So, a dyslexia tutor is a great person to ask for assistance in differentiating between these symptoms.
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