Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder
What I learned is that trying to draw lines between dyslexia and ADHD in one person isn’t always possible, at least for my son. Yes, they are separate diagnoses. Yes, they are measured differently. But my son’s challenges in the classroom are a mixture of all his learning and thinking differences. And like cake batter, once the ingredients are combined it’s hard to separate them.
For example, we had an issue with my son daydreaming in class. Sounds like ADHD, right? Maybe we need to figure out with his IEP team how to help him refocus, perhaps by adding breaks or gentle reminders.
But wait, it turns out he was daydreaming mainly in language arts class, where the assignment was to read silently and he had no access to audio accommodations. OK then, the daydreaming might be related to his dyslexia. Maybe we need to review the reading supports he’s getting in this classroom. Or could it be that the daydreaming is the result of both dyslexia and ADHD? Read more
Individuals with dyslexia and AD/HD may be underachieving in school even though they are often bright and motivated. The goal for them, as it is for all children, is to meet their potential. It is critical that children with these disorders be carefully evaluated because treatment for one disorder is different from the other. Inaccurate diagnosis can lead to inappropriate intervention and a delay in timely, effective intervention. Read more
Support for Attention (ADHD) in School
Individualized Education Plan (IEP) via Special Education*
Data-based assessment of student’s present levels of functioning in areas impacted by ADHD (ie. the student’s needs and how disability in this area impacts progress in the curriculum)
Goals in IEP related to attention (ADHD) (Ex. “Given support and visual cues, the student will create a system for organizing personal items in his locker/desk/notebook” or “Given a task that he correctly identifies as difficult for him, the student will create a plan for accomplishing the task” or “The student will independently write daily assignments and homework in daily planner with 90% accuracy as measured by daily planner checks.”)
Progress monitoring in IEP to see if student is meeting individualized goals to grow in skills and close gap with peers
Services of specialized teachers to teach your child how to achieve their individualized goals and monitor their progress towards meeting goals
Monitoring teacher who oversees student’s performance and challenges in all classes. Also coordinates support between student, parent & educators.
Classes with an In Class Support teacher for additional support, additional tutorials, etc.
Structured study hall led by special education teacher who also interfaces with student’s teachers
Accommodations to address student’s unique needs in IEP such as “Seat student in least distractible location,” or “Pair oral instructions with written instructions,” or “Scheduling five-minute period to check over work before turning in homework or tests to avoid careless mistakes” or “Provide short breaks between assignments”
Accommodations as noted above in IEP plan
* Reminder: All services provided via special education should be provided in the least restrictive environment, which is a typical classroom whenever possible. Special education is a service, not a place.
Links to Learn More
A selection of podcasts related to ADHD from the Tilt Parenting Podcast, which has more than 200 episodes of powerful and inspirational conversations with top authors and parenting experts on all things differently wired kids.