Is It More Than Just ADHD?

New study sheds some light
Reported in the journal Science
Study author: Brian Butterworth. Butterworth is a professor at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience of the University College London

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Research in the journal Science reports that up to 10 percent of all children are thought to have learning disabilities. This would amount to two or three kids per classroom.The researchers found that the disabilities have complex causes.

It’s estimated that nearly 10% of all children have ADHD, but it usually doesn’t occur by itself according to the researchers. They cited that 33 percent to 45 percent of children with ADHD also have dyslexia and 11 percent also have dyscalculia.

Dyslexia is a reading, writing and spelling disability frequently associated with auditory processing issues. Dyscalculia is a math learning disability.

The researchers stated that learning disabilities are the result of abnormal brain development caused by complicated genetic and environmental factors.

“We now know that there are many disorders of neurological development that can give rise to learning disabilities, even in children of normal or even high intelligence, and that crucially these disabilities can also co-occur far more often that you’d expect based on their prevalence,” said study author Brian Butterworth in a university news release. Butterworth is a professor at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience of the University College London

Butterworth’s team noted that if a child has multiple learning disabilities, they may be overlooked when one gets an ADHD diagnosis. The diagnosis may overlook dyslexia for example. Not knowing may lead to frustration by both student and teache as well as inadequate instructionr. Knowing a student has both learning disabilities would allow the teacher to properly accommodate the student’s needs.

The study reinforces the fact that one needs to get a good evaluation form a specialist, not just a short 20 minute visit to one’s pediatrician. Proper instruction can come only when one has full knowledge of student needs.