About 40 percent of people with ADHD also have a learning disability or the term I prefer is ‘learning differences’. Approximately 20 percent have Dyslexia and some ADHD adults have more than one learning disability.
Learning differences cause difficulties when reading, writing, performing calculations, as well as, visual or auditory perception. Learning disabilities have an effect on how the brain receives, processes, analyzes and stores information. Some learning disabilities affect concentration and focus (which of course is already a problem when you have ADHD).
These difficulties are present for the person when they are using their native language and there are no physical problems receiving information, such as, hearing and visual problems.
People with a learning disability tend to learn at a slower speed than their peers. This, in turn, can have effect on university grades and job performance. The result being a direct knock to one’s self-esteem.
Treating ADHD doesn’t help the learning disability directly, but it does indirectly. For example, if a person’s attention increases then they will be able to focus.
If you have ADHD and a learning disability here is what to do:
1. Get a diagnosis:
a. When you have an official diagnosis you will know exactly what you are dealing with.
b. If you are still in school you will get special accommodations to allow for your learning differences. For example, extra time in exams (you will also get accommodation for your ADHD).
c. After a diagnosis, you will be given a report outlining how you best learn. For example, when I was diagnosed with severe dyslexia (but don’t have ADHD), I found out I learnt best when listening to information. As I am writing this it sounds like common sense, but that was new information at the time.
2. Hire a tutor:
a. Find a tutor that specializes in your learning difference. Make sure they are both good at their job and have a personality that suits yours. My tutor was practical, kind and encouraging which, was the perfect combination for me.
3. Treat your ADHD:
a. Either with medication, or the non pharmaceutical steps I talk about or both. They will definitely help you cope and excel with your learning differences.
4. Do activities that you are good at:
Your self esteem takes a beating in learning situations so balance that out with activities that you excel at. It could be sports or creative activities, but make time every week for these activities. It is a vital to your emotional well being.