Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D, is a clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. His research proved that 60% of ADHDers also have a learning disability. The most common is dyslexia, a language- based learning disability that affects reading. 20% of the population is affected by dyslexia, and it is vastly misunderstood. A full neuropsychological assessment, BEFORE beginning first grade is ideal.


ADHD symptoms are exacerbated by dyslexia, and vice versa.  Both ADHD and dyslexia have several symptoms in common, such as information – processing speed challenges, working memory deficits, naming speed, and motor skills deficits. So, it is easy for a parent or a professional to mistake dyslexic symptoms for ADHD.

“We didn’t suspect my daughter may have dyslexia”, said one parent. “We assumed that reading was tough because of the inattentive symptoms of ADHD. Now we realize that it was dyslexia that was exacerbated by the ADHD.”

Dr. Olivardia states, “ADHD symptoms are usually apparent from the first day of school, whereas dyslexia is often not recognized until fourth grade, when the shift is made from learning to read to reading to learn. Parents are told by teachers that every student reads differently and they will catch up. This is truly NOT the case!




  • It is essential that a student diagnosed with either ADHD or dyslexia is assessed for the other condition.
  • Most schools are not equipped to teach a dyslexic student. They must have specific reading interventions, such as Orton- Gillingham or Project Read.
  • Multi-sensory lessons throughout a child’s entire day is ideal.




(Spring 2016)

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