NLD can have these Comorbid Conditions

Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension difficulties encompass many problems. Children who have difficulty reading often have tracking problems. This means they lose their place on the page and end up re-reading the same paragraph and skipping others altogether. Children with this learning disorder also read at the wrong speed. Some will rush while others will read very slowly. Both of these indicate that the child is not really comprehending what he or she is reading. A reading comprehension disorder also indicates that the child cannot identify the important details of a reading, thus, making it difficult to answer questions or study productively.

Finger Agnosia

Finger Agnosia describes people who struggle with the mechanics of writing. Children with this problem have trouble getting their thoughts from their brain onto the paper. They will have messy handwriting and often prefer to print rather than write in cursive. Because these kids cannot get their thoughts accurately onto the paper, they write sentences that do not make sense. Teachers can do several things to help students who struggle with Finger Agnosia.

  • Allow printing as often as possible because it is easier and uses less effort
  • Allow the use of typing and computer word processing
  • Have the student try different types of pens or pencils which may be easier to use
  • Break assignments and projects into pieces
  • Have students write an outline of the assignment to stay on track
  • Have students write down ideas before worrying about spelling or grammar
  • Have students dictate answers or reports first
  • Avoid timed situations; give tests orally if necessary
  • Use a binder to keep written assignments together
  • Appropriately modify writing workloads
  • Do not use peer paper grading to avoid embarrassment or teasing of the student


Dyslexia is the most common learning disorder. Like AD/HD, dyslexia is also genetic. Dyslexia displays itself in several different ways. Some people have trouble sounding out words while others have problems recognizing them by shape. Dyslexia can cause difficulty spelling words or cause mirror reading, switching letters around in a word.


Dyscalculia is similar to dyslexia but it involves math. People with dyscalculia have problems understanding math concepts, learn tables, and grasping the size of numbers. Children with dyscalculia often rely heavily on finger counting and struggle to keep numbers in columns to prevent mistallying.

Language Difficulties

Language difficulties occur in differing ways. People with it get off subject, interact in socially inappropriate ways (interrupting, not listening, misreading tones and body language), do not comprehend instructions, and respond to the wrong part of the question (fail to wait and listen for it to be completed before answering).

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)

Research being performed at Northwestern University, Evanston, indicates that some learning disorders in children may be caused by an auditory problem. This hearing problem is not with a child's ears, but rather with the brain not recognizing certain sounds. A child might know what sound a letter is associated with but be unable to recognize it when used in a word. Because of this, he or she develops problems with spelling, reading, and writing. Therefore, the ability to process sound has now been linked with the ability to learn.The inability for the brain to properly process sound has been labeled Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD). Even though this disorder in biologically based, researchers believe that they may actually be able to reverse some learning disorders by teaching the brain how to recognize and process the missed sounds.

Children who are affected by Central Auditory Processing Disorder benefit in school from a reduction of classroom echoing and noise through the addition of carpet and wall hangings which absorb noise. Seating children where they can see and hear best, but are away from distracting noises like the hallway or a heater, also helps. In addition, quiet study areas help a student to better focus on schoolwork.

If a student misunderstands what the teacher has said, the teacher should rephrase what was said in a different and simplified way, rather than repeating the statement word for word. The student may have misunderstood the words the teacher was using, so rephrasing what was said will help him/her to grasp the meaning better and faster.

If some of these accommodations sound a little familiar. That is because they are. Many of these accommodations are already recommended for AD/HD students. Central Auditory Processing Disorder may help us to better understand Attention Deficit Disorder. Already, many researchers in the field of AD/HD have considered a possible connection in some students to a hearing disorder and have taken this into account when creating accommodation lists. Because of this new research, children with a wide range of learning disabilities may be able to be helped.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a disorder in which a child or teen frequently argues with adults, disobeys, loses his/her temper, quickly becomes annoyed and is vindictive. ODD children are openly defiant, non-compliant, and confrontational. They also lay the blame for their problems on other people. A child does not have ODD, however, if these symptoms are only occasional or are associated with the age of the child.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder works on a cycle. The cycle may start because a teen feels overwhelmed by stimuli and feels he can not handle anything more at the moment. When you ask him to do a task, he then lashes out drawing you into the cycle. This lashing out occurs because your child thinks he is being treated unfairly.

ODD is also about control. An adolescent feels a lack of control inside and therefore attempts to gain control of his environment. The power struggle only worsens because the harder you push, the harder he will resist.

Here are a few suggestions to avoid feeding into an Oppositional Defiant cycle:

  • Identify the stressors that start an ODD episode and try to reduce them.
  • Remain calm when your child tries to draw you into the cycle through baiting.
  • Always be in control of your own anger.
  • Be consistent.
  • Offer choices to your child to give him or her a small sense of control, however, make sure the choices are acceptable to you.
  • Listen to what your child is saying underneath the anger because this will indicate when he/she is getting stressed and an ODD episode is likely.

Conduct Disorder (CD)

Conduct Disorder has an onset typically in childhood or adolescence. Children with CD deliberately intimidate and bully others and starts physical fights. They may have a history of being physically cruel to people and/or animals or of using a weapon. Other symptoms include deliberately destroying property and stealing from others. Children with this Conduct Disorder also lie to get what they want, are truant, violate curfew at a young age and have run away from home several times.

Tourette's Syndrome

The DSM-IV defines a tic as "a sudden, rapid recurrent, non-rhythmic movement or vocalization" (100). People who have Tourette's have several vocal and motor (movement) tics. They occur many times a day and cause considerable impairment. The disorder has an onset during childhood or adolescence. The occurrence of an individuals tics must go on for at least a year with no more than a three month period when the tics did not occur during this time. The tics can change over time.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Major Depressive Disorder is defined as one or more major depressive episodes. Some individuals' episodes come close together while others' are separated by many years. People with MDD are in a consistently depressed mood. They are irritable, fatigued, gain or lose weight, and have insomnia (too little sleep) or hypersomnia (too much sleep). People with MDD are at a high risk for suicide and for having multiple Major Depressive episodes.

Dysthymic Disorder

Dysthymic Disorder is a form of depression in which a person is consistently in depressed mood for two years (adults) and one year (children and adolescents). During this time, symptoms do not cease for more than two months at a time. Dysthymic Disorder is characterized by low self-esteem, self-criticism, irritability, a weight gain or loss, indecisiveness, an inability to concentrate and a disinterest in formerly enjoyable of activities. Other symptoms include insomnia or hypersomnia and fatigue. People with this form of depression can have it eventually develop into a Major Depressive Disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by worries and anxiety which are not in proportions for what is being worried about. Children with GAD are restless, fatigues, have trouble concentrating, are irritable and tense, and have problems sleeping. To be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, these symptoms must impair a persons functioning for more than six months. People with GAD worry about general things in their life such as school or extracurricular activities. Anxiety about things like weight, separation, being attacked or going out in public are more specific, separate anxiety disorders.

Enuresis (Bedwetting)

Bedwetting is defined as anyone over the age of five who wets the bed while sleeping. It is also referred to as primary nocturnal enuresis. Bedwetting is often a strong but overlooked clue to ADD and ADHD. Bedwetting can be inherited genetically as can AD/HD.

One reason it can be linked to AD/HD is that these patients have a genetic tendency to have trouble waking up during the night when they need to go the bathroom. AD/HD people sleep very deeply and may not wake in the night when their bladder is full.

Punishment, alarms, or artificially reducing the production of urine are not effective solutions. Tricyclic antidepressants not only stop bedwetting in 90% of patients, they also treat ADD/ADHD symptoms effectively.