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Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)is not under the umbrella of learning disabilities. It is a related disorder.
The main features of ADD/ADHD are:
Diagnosis is by observation. Parents and teachers are asked to fill out checklists. The scores can be helpful in revealing how serious the problems are. Observations are also used to determine if medications are helping.
Research indicates that 30% to 50% of people with ADD/ADHD also have a specific learning disability. The two conditions can interact to make learning extremely challenging.
Grades K, 1 & 2: Referrals, Assessments, Speech Therapy and Reading Intervention
Teachers notice problems like inattentiveness and difficulty following directions. Sometimes students are referred for vision and hearing tests over and over, with normal results each time. This is a clue that they are having processing difficulties, which are not assessed in routine acuity tests.
If the student has unclear speech and can't talk in full sentences, the child is usually referred to a speech language pathologist. Sometimes extra help in learning to read is provided by volunteers or the learning assistance teacher.
Grades 3 & 4: Meetings, Assessments and Behaviour Intervention
Students who are still non-readers in grade 3 are discussed at a school-based team meeting. The school only has a limited number of spaces for psycho-educational testing every year, so the team decides which students are a priority for testing. By the intermediate grades, students with speech and language difficulties have been on the caseload for several years, so they are no longer a high priority.
Students with behaviour problems get assigned to child care workers, teaching assistants, counsellors and special classrooms.
Grades 4 to 12: Classroom Supports and Coping Strategies
Students who are diagnosed as learning disabled after psycho-educational testing qualify for supports. Some of the common strategies offered are: 1) access to computers in the classroom and; 2) Kurzweil software. This software uses voice technology to read text. Students with attention deficit disorder may not be considered learning disabled and may not qualify for supports.
The problems are obvious in Kindergarten, but young students are not assessed for auditory and visual processing, memory, attention and sequencing.
During the primary grades, teachers focus on the alphabet, phonics and word lists. Learning requires memory, attention, processing speed and sequencing. Children with LD, Dyslexia and ADD/ADHD can't succeed because they don't have the underlying cognitive abilities.
School staff don't have the time, training or materials needed to provide therapy for underlying cognitive abilities.
Students in the intermediate and secondary grades become very discouraged. Coping strategies and behavioural interventions don't get to the root of the problem.
Students with attention deficit disorder need brain-based intervention. If they don't get this, their problems persist into adulthood.
Neuroplan offers online programs that improve executive functioning in people with attention deficit disorder.Visit our Pricing Page