ADD/ADHD and Learning

Although not considered a specific learning disorder, attention disorders can hamper a child or teen’s learning in very specific ways.  Rosemary Tannock, Ph.D. and the team of educators and researchers at the Brain and Behavior Center in Toronto have identified a number of learning challenges often associated with ADHD.

Reading and Reading Comprehension Weaknesses

  • Slow (but accurate) reading of single words and non-words

  • Slower text reading rate and “uneven” fluency

  • Inconsistent text accuracy

  • Difficulty recalling details from stories

  • Less sensitive to story structure

  • Difficulty organizing events and identifying causal events in narratives

  • Difficulty retelling stories in a well-organized and cohesive manner

  • Difficulty making inferences

Written Expression Weaknesses

  • Low productivity, poor writing fluency

  • Slow and effortful and/or fast and careless approach

  • Poor written spelling (spells words the way they sound and over-applies spelling rules)

  • Untidy, uneven, illegible handwriting

  • Poor planning and disorganization

  • Poor written sentence construction

  • Poor story composition (missing story elements, missing reasons or conclusion)

Math Weaknesses

  • Procedural errors (subtracting larger number from smaller number, failing to carry a number)

  • Tendency to rely on finger counting rather than direct retrieval of facts

  • More overt (out-loud) self-talk to guide actions (rather than using inner speech)

  • Slow computation speed

  • Difficulty retrieving number facts fluently and accurately

  • Difficulty ignoring irrelevant information in word problems

  • Difficulty solving math problems with multiple procedures or steps

Not all children or teens with attention disorders will demonstrate all of these challenges, but it is important to understand that if your child or student is struggling with learning it may be because of ADD/ADHD.

Need Help for Your Child or Teen?

For additional help, call 817.421.8780 to schedule an appointment.


(c) 2010-2014, Monte W. Davenport, Ph.D.