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My child has experienced trauma. How do I know if they have a learning difference or if their struggles with school are the result of trauma?

This is a valid question and one that educators and parents need to seriously consider.


The first thing to keep in mind is that having a learning difference alone can cause trauma. Especially if they are undiagnosed and untreated.

However, if the child has experienced traumas unrelated to academics such as homelessness, domestic abuse, loss of loved ones, etc..., then untangling whether their academic performance is impaired solely because of trauma, or a combination of trauma and a learning difference can be tricky but important to unpack.

Attributing all of a child's academic struggles to trauma can rob the child of the necessary educational interventions and accommodations that will help them succeed and thrive.

Always, always seek the diagnosis and recommendation of a clinician who specializes in ADHD, Dyslexia and related learning differences to rule out this possibility. 

Read about the link between trauma and the following learning differences:

ADHD and Trauma: Untangling Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments 

Trauma and Executive Function

PTSD caused by Dyslexia 

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