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Common Signs of Learning Differences

While the causes of AD/HD and Specific Learning Difficulties are different, the symptoms may appear similar.  A child with AD/HD may be a struggling reader because he can’t sustain attention while the SpLD child may not read well because of processing problems.  A professional evaluation is necessary to identify the source of a child’s learning differences so that appropriate treatment and support may be provided. 


Common signs of AD/HD

All children are sometimes restless, sometimes act without thinking, and sometimes daydream the time away.  When the child's hyperactivity, distractibility, poor concentration, or impulsivity begins to affect performance in school, social relationships or behavior at home, AD/HD may be suspected.  For your child to be diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, the signs have to be present for at least six months.  See “Checklist: signs of ADHD at Different Ages from  LDonline for more detail.

 Girls and boys frequently display different AD/HD symptoms. Boys with AD/HD frequently stand out more in the crowd than girls. Girls, regardless of which kind of AD/HD they have—the hyperactive-impulsive kind or the inattentive, day-dreamy kind seem to compensate better in school.  In this short video Edward Hallowell, MD, EdD, describes the typical signs of AD/HD in girls vs. boys. 

Common Signs of Specific Learning Difficulties

Symptoms of SpLD can be seen in all students at some time during their development. However, a child with learning differences will have a group of these symptoms that do not disappear over time.  The most common symptoms include: poor reading, writing or math skills, difficulty discriminating between/among letters, numbers or sounds, difficulties with sequencing, following directions, memory and attention. 

If parents, teachers, and other professionals discover a child's learning disability early and provide the right kind of help, it can give the child a chance to develop skills needed to achieve in school and beyond.  Read more about the characteristics by age that may point to a learning difference


What is a Learning Disability/difficulty?
Common Signs of Specific Learning Difficulties
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