ADHD is not a Learning Disability

What is a learning disability? Although there is no exact definition for it, many agree on, that learning disability is a childhood disorder that is characterized by difficulty with certain skills, such as math, reading, writing, and listening. Learning disability is not a problem with intelligence or motivation. Adults and children with this disability aren’t unskillful, they are just as smart and can handle life situations just like everyone else. Their brains are simply wired and connected differently in a way they are able to understand. These differences affect how they receive and process information. Simply put, children and adults with learning disabilities see, hear, and understand things differently. This can lead to trouble with learning new information and skills and putting them to use.

There are several types of disorders. The most common one is:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a medical condition where the person with this disorder has differences in brain development and activity that affect attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control. This can affect a child at school, home, and friendships.

There are stereotypes and assumptions about many people around the globe with ADHD that, they can’t stop fidgeting, procrastinating, getting distracted easily, or forgetting things so easily. It is actually brains that are chronically under aroused, trying to get the basic level of stimulation all brains need. It’s not about procrastinating or not caring, it’s having the executive function deficits that make it harder to get started. For example, if a student is studying for a test they have got the next day, they will keep going over it and quiz themselves. The next day, they expect themselves to get a good grade, but when it came to writing the paper, all of a sudden the big chunk they knew the night before has evaporated. A few hours, a few days later, something jogs their memory and it’s all back again. It’s not that they didn’t have it in their head, it’s just that they couldn’t retrieve it when they needed it the most.

In some cases, people with ADHD have a really good memory of what happened 5 or 10 years ago and they will tell it to you in details. When you ask them what happened a few minutes ago, they won’t have the foggiest idea of what actually happened and you will see this often with people who have ADHD. The problem with memory with ADHD is not with long-term memory. It’s with short- term memory.

There are some effective solutions that can help people with ADHD:

Create space:Ask yourself what you need on a daily basis, and find storage bins or closets for things you don’t. Designate specific areas for things like keys, bills, and other items that can be easily misplaced. Throw away things you don’t need.

Use a calendar app or day planner: Effective use of a day planner or a calendar on your smartphone or computer can help you remember appointments and deadlines. With electronic calendars, you can also set up automatic reminders so scheduled events don’t slip your mind.

Give yourself more time than you think you need: Adults with ADHD are notoriously bad at estimating how long it will take to do something. For every thirty minutes of time, you think it will take you to get someplace or complete a  task, give yourself a cushion by adding ten minutes.

Take things one at a time: Break down large projects or jobs into smaller, manageable steps.

Lastly, the term, learning disability, covers a wide range of abilities, and the level of support that someone needs depends on factors including the severity of their learning disability. A person with a mild learning disability may be able to live independently and only needs support with things like managing their finances or getting a job. However, someone with a severe or profound learning disability could need full-time care and support with every aspect of daily living. We should all stay open-minded for those who have such disabilities and connect as a group of various types of people who are sympathetic and considerate towards them!

Alisha Ali