Last updated:

December 26, 2023


 min read

Is ADHD a Learning Disability? Understanding the Connection

Find what constitutes a learning disability and tips to manage ADHD and learning

Written by
Malvika Rathi

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and is a serious mental health condition. It makes it harder for those with the condition to learn new information but it cannot be classified as a learning disability. 

It is vital to understand how ADHD impacts the learning process. This will help you seek appropriate support and deploy strategies according to your needs to succeed.  

There is a common notion that ADHD will lead to poor work performance or bad grades. However, this is not always the case and with the right treatment, you can achieve all your professional and academic goals. 

In this blog, we delve deeper into how ADHD impacts learning, what constitutes a learning disability and how to manage ADHD and learning effectively. 

How does ADHD impact learning?

ADHD (be it inattentive type, hyperactive and impulsivity type, or combined type) might impair a person's capacity to learn. 

The following are some instances of how learning may be influenced by ADHD symptoms:

Inability to stay focused

An individual with ADHD may find it easy to get sidetracked. They could forget or miss deadlines and have trouble focusing during classes or exam preparation.

Skipping finer details

People with ADHD are more likely to make careless errors and overlook critical information in their study materials or exam questions.

Lack of organisation or difficulty setting priorities

Being disorganised might make it easy to forget about due dates, tasks, and deadlines. Lack of prioritisation can also make someone feel overburdened and put off doing crucial learning tasks.

Poor time management

ADHD can induce time blindness or a loss of perception of time. Missing deadlines, arriving late for classes or meetings, and procrastinating may result from this.

Having trouble staying still

Individuals with ADHD find it harder to sit still and pay attention to the task at hand. They may frequently get up from their seat during meetings, classes, presentations, or other activities.

Misplacing valuables

Important objects like homework, meeting notes, and study materials are frequently lost and hamper the learning process. 

It's advisable to seek expert guidance as soon as you suspect that ADHD may be the cause of your learning difficulties. By receiving therapy and assistance for your ADHD, you may be able to better control your symptoms and get past difficulties with learning and studying.

What constitutes a learning disability?

A learning disability is a problem when a child cannot deliver on the materials that are two standards below their current class. 

The following are some signs of a learning impairment: 

  • Reading inefficiently or slowly
  • Writing that is ambiguous
  • Having trouble recalling numerical facts
  • Reasoning in mathematics is difficult
  • Obtaining grades that are far below the standard for their age

A learning issue can affect a person's performance at work, school, and in managing everyday tasks and obligations. Some of the common learning disabilities include dyslexia (a reading disorder), dyscalculia (a number-based illness), and dysgraphia (a writing disorder).  

A couple of symptoms of ADHD resemble those of a learning impairment but there are differences in the diagnostic standards and approaches to treating both. 

For instance, medication and behavioural treatment can both be used to treat ADHD. However, special education or language therapy is often used to treat learning disorders.

It's also crucial to remember that someone could have both ADHD and a concurrent learning disability. According to some research, learning disabilities affect up to 45% of students with ADHD, and these two diseases may combine to make learning more difficult.

Tips to manage ADHD and learning 

The following are doctor-recommended strategies from Rocket Health to manage ADHD and learning: 

Try using some ADHD control techniques:

Regular reminders, calendar applications, a planner, or a designated spot for all of your school books will help you remember things and feel less stressed.

Educate parents, guardians, and teachers on ADHD:

Adults who care for children with ADHD may benefit from support in managing their symptoms.

Try therapy:

A person can learn to live with ADHD, develop coping mechanisms, and more skillfully advocate for their needs at school with the use of psychotherapy.

If the ADHD patient is older than six years old, you may wish to think about medication:

A person who takes stimulant drugs may be able to focus better and achieve self-actualization at school.

Promote the use of individualised learning plans:

Create a specialised education plan in collaboration with the teachers. Promote accommodations at the school, such as a distraction-free testing atmosphere, as part of this plan. 

Final Word 

To sum it up, ADHD is not a learning disability but some symptoms of ADHD, like trouble focusing, can make learning more challenging.

But ADHD need not end a person's academic aspirations. People with ADHD are capable of excelling academically and becoming excellent learners.

Those with ADHD can succeed in environments that call for quiet concentration and attentive attention with the proper therapy and support.

If you or someone you love are struggling with ADHD, talk to our RCI registered clinical psychologists today to develop a personalised treatment plan and take the first step towards living the life of your dreams. 


Villines, Z. (2023, September 24). ADHD: Is it a learning disability? 

ADHD Is Not a Learning Disability (But it Does Affect Learning). (2023, October 4). ADDA - Attention Deficit Disorder Association. 

DuPaul, G. J., Gormley, M. J., & Laracy, S. D. (2012, November 9). Comorbidity of LD and ADHD. Journal of Learning Disabilities; SAGE Publishing.