What Is a Learning DisabilityHow Is Ld Different From Add And Adhd?
Students with ADD or ADHD are almost sure to also have a problem learning. If there is a dog barking outside or someone in the next seat is bumping her heels against a chair, a student with ADD is distracted from the test questions the teacher is writing on the board. He has trouble paying attention.
The student with ADHD may be the one bumping her heels. She may soon be bouncing off to the pencil sharpener in the middle of the test. Students with ADHD have a very hard time sitting still for even a few minutes. They seem compelled to move about. Because of their ADD or ADHD, these students may have difficulty learning and may do poorly in school. Even though students with ADD or ADHD have a problem learning, they may or may not have a learning disability.
The problems of ADD and ADHD must be treated apart from any learning disability. Often some form of medication can be helpful. A medication is any drug, prescribed by a doctor or sold over-the-counter, to help make someone feel better, do better, or get better. Camille's story is typical of someone who is not learning disabled but needs treatment for a mild form of ADD.
Camille was placed in honors classes when she began high school, but she didn't do very well. She complained that she found it very hard to pay attention and that she missed many things her teachers said. She had trouble focusing, especially in her afternoon classes.
Camille's language arts teacher wondered if Ritalin, a medication that helps many students with ADD pay bet ter attention in school, might help. Her mother, school guidance counselor, and doctor discussed it, but they were not sure that Camille needed Ritalin.
“Please,” Camille asked, “let me take it for a while to see if it helps.” For a year Camille took two pills a day of the smallest amount of Ritalin possible. Soon she could stay focused on her schoolwork, and her grades improved.
Even though ADD and ADHD are not the same as LD, some specialists consider them a form of learning disability. About 20 percent of students who clearly are LD show some form of ADD or ADHD.
Does all of this sound confusing to you? If so, you are not the only one confused by all of these terms. There are many issues that cause heated debate among doctors, teachers, specialists, and parents. These include what a learning disability is, what causes it, and how to identify and treat it.
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