3 Reasons Why Your Child’s Attention Problem Might NOT Be ADHD (Part 1)

Jill Stowell ADHD, General Information, Learning Disability

 “Your child just can’t seem to pay attention in class.  It could be ADHD.”

 Yes. It could be ADHD, but did you know that there are many other reasons why kids struggle to pay attention in class and when doing homework?  At Stowell Learning Center, the vast majority of our students have attention challenges, but only a very small minority actually have ADHD.

 3 students. One common story.

 Jeremy wiggles constantly in his chair. It keeps him from getting his work done and is very distracting to the students sitting near him.

Manny talks to his neighbors all the time instead of doing his work. He’s always interested in what everyone else is doing, but he can’t seem to pay attention to his own work.

Sara tries really hard to be “good.” She sits up tall and looks right at the teacher. But pretty soon, she’s fiddling with things on her desk or staring straight through the teacher. When it’s time to start working, Sara always has to ask, “What were we supposed to do?”

Sound Familiar?  These students, their parents, their teachers, and maybe even some of their classmates are frustrated by their attention problems, but not one of them has ADHD!

 If Not ADHD, then what?

Good attention and successful, easy learning depend upon a solid foundation of underlying learning skills. These skills include the following:

 Core Learning Skills: These are basic visual and motor skills that help children develop a sense of self, internal organization, and body and attention awareness and control.

Processing Skills: These are skills such as attention, memory, auditory and visual processing (how we think about and understand things that we see or hear), processing speed, language comprehension, and phonemic awareness (the thinking process critical to reading that supports learning and using phonics).

Executive Function: This is our personal manager that guides and directs our attention and behavior. It helps us reason, problem solve, organize, and make decisions.

Poor attention in class may be a symptom, not the real problem.
If a child has problems with any of the underlying learning skills, his attention system will also be stressed. While attention may become a problem in school or with homework, it may not actually be the real problem. 



What’s really going on with Jeremy, Manny, and Sara?
What could be causing your child’s attention problem?

 Visit our blog next week for answers!

Here’s the great news:  The weak or inefficient underlying learning/processing skills can be developed.  Addressing the root cause of the poor attention symptom can eliminate the problem.

P.S.  If you are interested in really understanding what it feels like to have a learning or attention challenge, join us for our upcoming simulations. 

▪   Attention Challenges Simulation – April 13, 2013 – Irvine, CA

▪   Dyslexia Simulation – April 20, 2013 – Chino, CA

Go to www.learningdisability.com for info and RSVP

What IS a Learning Disability, Anyway?

Jill Stowell General Information, Learning Disability 0 Comments

The term learning disability has gone out of vogue because the word “disability” is now politically incorrect.  And in many ways, when talking about students who actually fit this profile, the term learning disability, can be very confusing.

By definition, someone who has a learning disability has average to above average intelligence.  In fact, many of our students are extremely bright or even gifted, but in spite of being smart, these children and adults have difficulty with some aspects of learning that cause them to struggle in school or at work more than would be expected.

Bright, Talented, and Able!

Learning disabilities are perplexing because they may cause very “able” individuals to be unsuccessful or “disabled” in certain situations.

Children and adults with learning disabilities look and act like the rest of the population. They are bright and often talented in creative or physical areas. Their “disability,” with its accompanying frustration, withdrawal, or coping behaviors, rears its head in the face of specific tasks or expectations.

There are many underlying learning/processing skills that support efficient learning.  These are things such as body and attention awareness and control, memory, auditory and visual processing (how the brain perceives and thinks about information that is seen or heard), processing speed, language processing, and reasoning.

Weak or inefficient learning/processing skills can cause smart students to struggle.  Sometimes, they get diagnosed as having a learning disability and sometimes they don’t, but parents and the students themselves know that there is something making learning harder than it should be.

Lazy?  Unmotivated?

Unfortunately, because they are obviously intelligent and generally do some kinds of tasks very easily, parents and teachers may, at first, see the student with learning challenges as lazy or unmotivated.  Older students often view themselves as lazy.

With very few exceptions, learners of any age want to be successful and would if they could.  In spite of what it may look like, there is almost always a reason why a child is not performing as expected and it’s almost NEVER because they’re lazy or don’t care.

Great News!

The great news about learning disabilities is that they don’t have to be permanent!   Brain plasticity research shows us that the brain can literally develop new neuropathways, or quicker, more efficient connections for learning. 

Students of any age with diagnosed or undiagnosed learning disabilities including dyslexia can become comfortable, confident, and independent learners.

Don’t Live a Learning Disability

The key to correcting learning challenges is to identify which of the underlying learning/processing skills are not supporting the student well enough and develop these areas.  Then remediate the troublesome basic academic areas such as reading, spelling, or math, and the student is on his way to being the learner he has the potential to be.

P.S.  If you are interested in really understanding what it feels like to have a learning or attention challenge, join us for our upcoming simulations.

  • Attention Challenges Simulation – April 13, 2013 – Irvine, CA
  • Dyslexia Simulation – April 20, 2013 – Chino, CA

Go to www.learningdisability.com for info and RSVP

Welcome to Stowell Learning Center’s Blog!

David Stowell General Information 0 Comments

For more information on Stowell Learning Center visit our website at www.learningdisability.com

Information on our upcoming events can be found at www.learningdisability.com/upcomingevents

If you would like more information about our services we invite you to attend our Parent Information Meeting.
Meeting Dates and RSVP form can be found at the following links:
Chino Parent Info Meeting     Irvine Parent Info Meeting

Stowell Learning Center hosts a parent support group once a month.  Join us for PEACE (Parent Enrichment And Continued Education), visit the following link for more information:  PEACE Group Meeting

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