How Does ADHD Relate to Dyslexia?

"Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often persists into adulthood. ADHD includes a combination of problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.  Children with ADHD also may struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school." - Mayo Clinic

When children have trouble in school, ADHD is often one of the first conditions considered.

What should be done 1...  2...  3...  4...  5...

In reality DYSLEXIA should be considered first!

Common Signs of Dyslexia

Parents and teachers may notice hyperactivity, inattention, and low self-esteem, and link these characteristics to challenges in school. From there, teachers may ask the parents if they've ever considered ADHD a possibility, and subsequently an appointment with a doctor might be made. For a portion of students, a diagnosis of ADHD might be made, and often medication is recommended by doctors.

The reason I would rather have Dyslexia diagnosed BEFORE ADHD, is because the least amount of intervention should happen first. If we can make instructional changes that should happen way before medication is considered. And, medication is often considered with ADHD, so I feel dyslexia should be considered FIRST.

It's often challenging for parents to decide about whether or not to medicate their child, and it's a very personal decision.

Estimates are about 20% of students have ADHD. Plus, we require many hours of sitting down in classrooms. It's challenging to decide whether or not to medicate.
Ultimately, what most parents desire is for their child to experience happiness and success in school.
ADHD can really be a challenging condition, and it can be difficult to find the right combination of strategies, learning tools, medication, and supplements to use in order to support your child.

About 50% of students with ADHD have no learning challenge.

The other 50% of people with ADHD are likely Dyslexic.

Common Signs of Dyslexia

The other 50% statistically will have a learning challenge, the most likely one being Dyslexia.  Therefore, if a student who has ADHD and continues to have difficulty with learning, definitely assess for dyslexia. 

That percentage is high! Again, there is a 50% chance that someone with ADHD will also have Dyslexia.

Often teachers and parents think student learning difficulty occurs because a child is not paying attention due to his or her ADHD.  This is not the case.


ALWAYS screen for dyslexia when there is a challenge in learning how to read, write, and spell.

There are many learning techniques that will help a student with ADHD and dyslexia be successful in the classroom.  These children need more movement, a plethora of visuals, and experiential learning.  They also need a way to get their energy out.  Which is why, it's important to let students exercise and play at recess.  Multi-sensory education works best when kids are challenged with ADHD, dyslexia or both ADHD and dyslexia.

I did not purposely start learning about ADHD in my career, however, I quickly learned that if I wanted to learn all about dyslexia, I MUST learn all about ADHD. The two are INTERRELATED.

Common Signs of Dyslexia