Does my child have ADHD?

ADHD or Dyslexia? Or could it be something worse?

This week Dr. Linda answers a fairly common but scary question; “Does my child have ADHD or dyslexia?” Here’s what you need to know.

Picture of boy pulling girl's hair.Dear Dr. Linda,

Miles is in the fourth grade. We just had a meeting with his teacher. She said that she felt he had ADHD. Last year, the teacher mentioned it also. We know something is wrong, but we don’t think it’s ADHD. Our neighbor’s son has ADHD, and Miles doesn’t act anything like him. We really think it’s something else. Does Miles have ADHD? How would we know?

ADHD or Not?

Dear ADHD or Not,

There are so many parents that feel something isn’t right with their child, but they are not sure what it is. Could their child have dyslexia? Could their child have an auditory processing disorder? And without fail, the question comes up, “Could my child have ADHD?” Most parents don’t want that label. They continue to tell me that their friend’s child has ADHD, but their own child doesn’t behave like the other child.

Moms and Dads just don’t want to accept that their child’s problems may be coming from ADHD, with or without hyperactivity. The reason may be that ADHD is associated with medicating their child and almost all the parents tell me on the onset that they don’t believe in medication. The fact is, that if a child’s symptoms aren’t severe, which means that they cannot function in the school setting, they do not need medication. There are many modifications that can help kids with ADHD function in and out of school.

So, don’t be afraid of the label. If it turns out that your child is diagnosed with ADHD, help your child learn how to use her strengths, and modify her weaknesses so that her ADHD is not a detriment but a positive in school.

Get support for your child. And if your child is struggling in school and has been professionally diagnosed with ADHD, and the school is willing to classify him, consider taking advantage of the support. It will help your child and you because:

  •         You can be in touch with the teacher to clarify assignments to be sure that there’s no more missed projects and homework.
  •         You can be in touch with the teacher so that your child can preview the material which will be presented the following day. This will help him focus and therefore get more out of the class.
  •         You can be in touch with the teacher to be sure that everyone working with her understands her entire profile of cognitive, linguistic, visual, graphic, attentional, and behavioral/social strengths and weaknesses.

If it’s ADHD contact your local chapter of CHADD. It’s an organization about and for children with ADHD. It’s a great support group.

For anyone asking themselves, “Does my child have ADHD?” I wrote about teaching kids with ADHD to read several months ago. Take a look. I listed a dozen suggestions and you can get my free Dyslexia Toolkit, which is normally offered on

And please let me know how you and Miles are doing in the next month or so!


Dr. Linda

Many of the blog posts on the TigerTuesday website come Dr. Linda’s syndicated newspaper columns.
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Phonics Centered — Consistent with Orton-Gillingham — Multisensory