Difficulties with Reading Skills


"I have an eight-year-old with ADD. He struggles with reading and reading comprehension. Is this common, and what is the school's legal responsibility?"

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

Fifty percent of children with ADHD or ADD also have learning disabilities. It sounds as if this may be the issue for your second-grader. Problems with reading and reading comprehension are suggestive of a learning disability, not of ADHD.

You should send a letter to the principal of the school requesting a meeting to discuss the reading difficulty. Under IDEA (a federal law), schools must consider evaluating for learning disabilities if there are problems such as the one you describe. If the principal refuses, find an education advocate to advise you or contact the National Learning Disabilities Association at ldanatl.org or by calling 412-341-1515.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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