Learning disabilities and ADHD: overlapping spectrumn disorders

J Learn Disabil. 2000 Sep-Oct;33(5):417-24. doi: 10.1177/002221940003300502.


Clinical and psychoeducational data were analyzed for 119 children ages 8 to 16 years who were evaluated in a child diagnostic clinic. A learning disability (LD) was present in 70% of the children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with a learning disability in written expression two times more common (65%) than a learning disability in reading, math, or spelling. Children with LD and ADHD had more severe learning problems than children who had LD but no ADHD, and the former also had more severe attention problems than children who had ADHD but no LD. Further, children with ADHD but no LD had some degree of learning problem, and children with LD but no ADHD had some degree of attention problem. Results suggest that learning and attention problems are on a continuum, are interrelated, and usually coexist.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / classification
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology*
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / classification
  • Learning Disabilities / complications*
  • Learning Disabilities / psychology*
  • Male
  • Severity of Illness Index