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Can You Have Both ADHD and Irlen Syndrome?

We’re asked all the time whether it’s possible to have both ADHD and Irlen Syndrome. The short answer is YES. Just like you can have both dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome, it is also possible to have both ADHD and Irlen Syndrome, and both issues should be treated accordingly. There are some people (research suggests about 30%) who have been diagnosed with ADHD but actually have only Irlen Syndrome instead – once treated for Irlen Syndrome, they no longer have symptoms of ADD. Other individuals, however, require treatment for both ADHD and Irlen Syndrome.

Irlen Syndrome can cause symptoms that are very similar to ADHD (e.g., attention and concentration difficulties, irritability and agitation, etc.), but the difference is that for individuals who have Irlen Syndrome, lighting causes these symptoms, so children will often have greater difficulty when under fluorescent lighting in the classroom than at home. Many individuals who have been misdiagnosed with ADHD do not respond successfully to medication. The Irlen website offers some more information on Irlen Syndrome and ADHD (