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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Diagnosis: LD and ADHD

April 25, 2007

My friend Karen's daughter was just diagnosed with LD and ADHD. We both suspected this would be the outcome — it's been a long year of failure, referral, testing, and eligibility. Karen and Lisa are both exhausted by the process and feel relieved that Lisa might start getting the help she desperately needs.

Co-morbidity of LD and ADHD is not uncommon. Some estimates (reported in Learning Disabilities: Foundations, Characteristics, and Effective Teaching — one of the best texts about LD I know) suggest that about 20% of students identified as having learning disabilities could also be diagnosed as having ADHD. There are several reasons why such an overlap occurs, but the fact that it is so prevalent has researchers exploring whether there is a genetic link between LD and ADHD. So far, no link has been determined.

There are LOTS of resources out there for parents in Karen's situation — blogs by moms, our sister site LD OnLine, websites like Schwab Learning, podcast sites, and hundreds of thousand more resources (it's almost silly to try to create a list of resources--any list will undoubtedly exclude some great ones, I KNOW mine did).

My one piece of advice to Karen, who, like many moms of newly diagnosed kids, spends hours online looking for information, guidance and support — consider the source.

There is a TON of junk out there (again, no list would sufficiently reveal all the phonies). Start with a reputable source and go from there. And RUN from anyone or anything that promises quick solutions.

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"Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks." — Dr. Seuss