ADHD, Anxiety, or Auditory Processing Disorder?

Often it’s ADHD but it could be something else.

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out just what’s going on with your child. To make matters worse, many of the symptoms associated with one issue are the same for another issue.

Many of the symptoms children who have ADHD exhibit are similar to the symptoms exhibited by children who have  an Auditory Processing Disorder, an anxiety disorder or a combination.

To complicate it even more, there are several different types of ADHD: Impulsive, hyperactive, non-hyperactive, inattentive or a combination of those.

At this point, you may need to talk to someone to help you sort this out. It may be someone you have already seen or another professional who can help you decide which is the best course of action. Be sure the professional is knowledgeable in ADHD, anxiety disorders, and Auditory Processing Disorder.

In the meantime, here’s a strategy that can help a child with any or all of these issues. It’s called “previewing.”

Previewing is simply learning a little about the topic first to make it easier for you to take in new material. It will help your child a lot if your child previews what he’ll be learning before he walks into the class.

To do this, find out what books he’ll be reading and what kinds of assignments he’ll have. What are the topics he’ll be studying? Talk about this ahead of time, not in detail but in general. Use some of the new vocabulary words so he’ll know the words when he hears them in class.

Now, when the teacher introduces the topic, he’ll be prepared. He’ll learn the material more easily, which will also help lower his anxiety.

To see how well previewing works, imagine what it would be like going to an opera without first having a sneak preview.

You’ll be looking at the chandeliers because you’ll have no idea what’s happening. Previewing the story line before seeing it will help keep your attention because you’ll be able to relate to it. It will help you follow what’s happening even if you have difficulty understanding the language.

Previewing will help your child in school whether the diagnosis is ADHD, Auditory Processing Disorder,  an anxiety disorder or a combination. Discover more tips for helping kids in positive, constructive ways in our award winning book, “Why  Bad Grades Happen to Good Kids” at

Be sure to leave a comment. Let me know what works for your kids.


  1. Jennie Jorstad says:

    Dr. Linda,
    My son has severe OCD, panic, a “disorder of written expression” and all the symptoms of an Auditory Processing Disorder. I had him tested at 8 but frankly, I did not care for the tester. We homeschool and he said we needed to put him in school because schooling him would ruin our relationship. Do you have any recommendations for where I can get him re-tested? He is a sweet boy and I think with hormones kicking in at 13, he is a mess and I am at a loss of how to help. Thank you so much for any insight. He also had speech therapy for years and still doesn’t clearly annunciate his “r”. I do have him under the care of a Psychiatrist and Psychologist. With gratitude, Jennie

    • Hi Jennie, Thanks for commenting. I really couldn’t recommend a specific professional to help your son. I would ask both psychiatrist and psychologist for recommendations. You can also check with your state Department of Education.

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