The effect of reading difficulties on a child with ADHD
When children of normal IQ are struggling to read, the associated anxiety and frustration cause raised stress hormones within their bodies. These are otherwise know as 'fight or flight' hormones. These hormones make children need to MOVE, however we require them to stay still and be calm. This only creates more tension within the child, worsening the symptoms.
Anyone of normal intelligence will avoid situations which cause them significant distress and children with ADHD will often find ways to do this that others find quite disruptive. This is because they tend to lack the ability to think things through before they act on the thought. Richard Lavoie calls these children the “ready, fire, aim” children. A thought comes along and before they have had a chance to “aim” it they act on it. The part of the brain called the cerebellum is involved with the ability to quickly filter our thoughts to help us to decide when to act, or not.
Some of the symptoms of ADHD are the same as the symptoms for stress. If you want to help reduce the symptoms you need to treat the cause. If a child has a reading difficulty in addition to the symptoms of ADHD one of the best things you can do for them is to address the reading issue, reducing the stress response as a result of this.
Research shows us the cerebellum is also involved with some of the issues related to ADHD. In addition to this, the cerebellum also helps us move our eyes when reading. Some of the children who have done Eye Tracker have also had improvements in their ADHD symptoms. It is possible that not only is the stress response being settled but parts of the cerebellum are also being “re-wired” thus allowing the child to have more control over their behaviour.
ADHD & cerebellum research