Is ADHD A Disability? | Relationship Between ADHD & Other Disabilities

Last Update on June 9, 2021 : Published on June 5, 2021
Is ADHD A Disability

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition that commonly develops during childhood but in many cases isn’t diagnosed until adulthood. An individual with ADHD displays signs of impulsivity, inattentiveness, short attention span, or episodes of hyperactivity.

Many people with ADHD may have trouble functioning normally but with frequent therapy and medications, symptoms of ADHD can be manageable. In some cases, ADHD can have a long-lasting impact on a person’s ability to be productive and interactive at work, school, or in social situations.

As a result of this, a question arises; Is ADHD a disorder or a disability?

Let’s start by understanding the relationship between ADHD and disabilities.

Is ADHD a Developmental Disability?

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), ADHD can be classified as one of the common developmental disorders or disabilities in young children. Developmental disorders can affect the overall neurodevelopment of a child.

Examples of developmental disabilities include autism, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, vision impairment, as well as ADHD.

Symptoms of ADHD can be:

  • Lots of daydreaming
  • Fidgeting
  • Rambling
  • Impulsivity
  • Difficulty focusing

If your child shows these symptoms, it is recommended you talk to a mental health professional for a diagnosis and treatment.

Is ADHD a Learning disability?

A subtype of developmental disability, learning disability is a neurological condition that can make reading, writing, doing math, spelling, and other skills difficult to grasp. Learning disabilities can also make it difficult to organize, recall, and store memories. Dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia are all examples of learning disabilities.

ADHD isn’t considered a learning disability, however, ADHD and LD might coexist in some cases. In these circumstances, having a learning disability with ADHD can cause difficulty in learning to an individual.

Additionally, people with ADHD have difficulty behaving ideally or as expected. For example, they are unable to sit still for long periods, may have a very short attention span, or might be prone to daydreaming. This behavior can also affect their ability to learn as well as others.

If your child is diagnosed with ADHD and learning disorder, then it is recommended you get treatment for both. ADHD and LD, while not directly related, may contribute to the other.

Is ADHD an Intellectual Disability?

Intellectual disabilities are when an individual faces trouble with adaptive and intellectual functioning. ID can be diagnosed with an IQ test. People with an intellectual disability may have difficulty in developing intellect later than others.

Adaptive functioning can include learning, reasoning, social communication, memory, or social judgment.

ADHD, autism, specific learning disorders are co-related disorders to intellectual disabilities. This disability may begin during childhood and teenage and can be identified as delays in learning or motor skills. However, Intellectual disabilities are not easy to identify until a child starts displaying trouble in learning and retaining adaptive skills.

Read: Practice Adaptive Coping Skills and strike Maladaptive Ones Now

Is ADHD A Mental Disability?

Is ADHD A Mental Disability

In a way, ADHD can be considered a mental disability as it affects an individual’s ability to think, act, and feel in otherwise normal circumstances. However, it can be difficult to diagnose ADHD when a person has other disabilities such as intellectual, developmental, and learning.

In every disability, ADHD can be present but can be masked differently making it harder to diagnose. However, to be diagnosed with ADHD, you need to have at least these signs:

  • Inattentiveness
  • Impulsiveness
  • Hyperactivity

You must also display symptoms of:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Social impairment
  • Developmental impairment

A diagnosis can be made by a child psychologist, clinical psychologist, or neuropsychologist.

How to Manage ADHD:

managing ADHD

The treatment can depend on the intensity of the ADHD symptoms. ADHD treatment also varies in children and adults. While some techniques to manage ADHD might work on some, they might not work with others.

Treatment Might Include:

  • Psychotherapy: Therapies such as individual therapy, group therapy, CBT, and dialectical behavioral therapy can be used to help treat ADHD.
  • Medications: Prescribed medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety can be given. Please consult with a doctor before taking any medications.

Final Words

If you or someone you love is struggling with managing the symptoms of ADHD or other co-related disabilities, you can consult with a mental health professional for further diagnosis and treatment.

ADHD is not a curable disorder or disability but with the right diagnosis and treatment, it can be manageable. Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin, had ADHD and a learning disability, yet he is a successful businessman leading a healthy life.

Living with ADHD and other coexisting disabilities doesn’t have to be a struggle. Don’t hesitate to get help if you need it. I hope this article helped you answer the question; is ADHD a disability?

You can also reach out to us at for further help and assistance.

You are not alone in your struggle.

Take care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.


  1. Virginia keel
    Virginia keel

    Why if so common is it so hard for the schools to help them not Code them

  2. Michelle

    I can’t find a Dr. in Pocatello Idaho to prescribe medication for my ADHD

  3. Lynn Maholias
    Lynn Maholias

    My son has ADHD and a processing disorder that presents like dysgraphia. The school district did not recognize dysgraphia as a learning disability even though he was in 4 th grade and spelling at a pre-primer level. he was very intelligent but was in capable of putting transferring thoughts onto paper. The district told me that I should get a private tutor. There was a three year waiting list to get into the dyslexic center of Milwaukee where they have trained professionals who know how to teach children with dyslexia. Therefore I was spinning $500 a month on a private tutor two days a week. And the school was making no accommodations except for a 504 plan for his ADHD. He was diagnosed by a neurologist He was very upset that the school had focused on his behaviors while ignoring his academic struggles. I had another follow up assessment by the same neuropsychologist three years later at that point he was diagnosed with a processing disorder which affects all kinds of things including memory and the ability to retain and transfer information to long-term memory.

  4. Donna warde
    Donna warde

    My grandson have adhd.

  5. Ricardo Ramirez
    Ricardo Ramirez

    My child is 7 n has been diagnosed with adhd n I'm trying to understand him to be helpful I need help myself

    1. Swarnakshi Sharma
      Swarnakshi Sharma

      Hi Ricardo, thanks for visiting Calm Sage. To know more about how you can help your child, you can refer to the article on Effective Parenting Tips for a Child With ADHD, here. Other than that, I'd suggest you engage them in healthy activities and practice those exercises with them. Also, try to focus on your self-care too. For more, you can contact us at

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