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Thread: Do wizards have learning disorders?

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    Do wizards have learning disorders?

    Again, I have a question regarding the same story as the coma question. James Sirius Potter. Would it be possible for him to be ADHD, ADD, and Dyslexia? Or would wizards have a potion that would cure it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by iMusic17 View Post
    Again, I have a question regarding the same story as the coma question. James Sirius Potter. Would it be possible for him to be ADHD, ADD, and Dyslexia? Or would wizards have a potion that would cure it?
    Yes, I would have thought wizards could have these problems... As for each specific condition...

    Dyslexia would be an interesting one as it might be difficult to diagnose - if the parent hasn't noticed it when teaching the child to read, then I can't imagine it would be spotted at Hogwarts as the teachers don't focus on reading comprehension. However, people with dyslexia may struggle with pronounciation, as phonological awareness can be quite low, and with spelling, so it might be picked up on in an essay, or if reading incantations. They also tend to read a little slowly, which I can imagine would be embarrassing for the student if doing homework with a friend who reads at a normal speed - I'd have thought they'd be in for some teasing if it was noticed, as the condition is not well-understood, and plenty of "normal" kids mistake it for plain stupidity.

    ADD is a type of ADHD, which is a developmental delay in impulse control, etc. Again, this may be difficult to diagnose as it's quite subjective as to what is normal childish boisterousness and what is severe enough to require diagnosis and treatment - this is one of the reasons put forward to explain why more boys are diagnosed with ADHD than girls (teachers are less likely to put up with rowdy boys than girls). However, symptoms do manifest before the age of 7, so I'd imagine Harry/Ginny/Molly/someone close to the family would have picked up on it prior to Hogwarts starting...

    I'd be wary of having a cure-all potion for these types of conditions, especially if they are not fully understood - for example, there are theories surrounding the cause of dyslexia, but no definitive answer. Unless you know what a potion/spell treats (eg, wiping out bugs causing a cold, etc), I wouldn't create one... Of course, that's just me, I'm sure plenty of authors do it without problem, but to me it seems a bit too easy! However, a potion to "calm down" a student with ADHD might be possible, as we have comparative drugs in the Muggle world (I think that's what Ritalin is, though I could have the wrong drug). However, I'd be wary of using it willy-nilly, and I can imagine it might have side-effects, so perhaps a course of therapy/coping strategies might be better?

    These are quite complex issues, and if they're going to be a major part of the fic I'd definitely research them a little first.
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    1. It depends on what you believe the origins of the learning disorders are. It's quite possible that they simply go undiagnosed in the wizarding world.

    A Next-Gen kid having a diagnosed learning disorder would probably depend on their parents taking them to a Muggle physician. It just doesn't strike me as the kind of thing the wizarding world would be particularly concerned about.

    2. Beyond Calming Draughts for ADHD, I'm not sure if there would be a potion fix-it. Of course, magic breaks all kinds of other physical laws, so why not?
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    Thanks for the help. Yeah, Harry was in denial for a while because he hadn't heard of wizards and witches having 'muggle' problems. Once Ginny and Molly egged him on enough, they saw a muggle physician. They said that James was all three, and that is possible. One of my best friends is all three. So they talked to a healer who told them he didn't have a magic potion and calming droughts can become addicting. So James started taking muggle medicine but when he became Quidditch Captain he refused; sometimes it reacts weirdly and he gets really tired.

    That good?
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    Quote Originally Posted by iMusic17 View Post
    Thanks for the help. Yeah, Harry was in denial for a while because he hadn't heard of wizards and witches having 'muggle' problems. Once Ginny and Molly egged him on enough, they saw a muggle physician. They said that James was all three, and that is possible. One of my best friends is all three. So they talked to a healer who told them he didn't have a magic potion and calming droughts can become addicting. So James started taking muggle medicine but when he became Quidditch Captain he refused; sometimes it reacts weirdly and he gets really tired.

    That good?
    Yeah, dyslexia especially won't be cured by a potion, I'm sure, and ADHD would be problematic. How old is James in the fic? Because I can't imagine he'd be able to decide his own medical treatment unless he was over a certain age. This is from the NHS website:

    Children and teenagers
    Teenagers who are 16 and 17 years old are entitled to consent to their own treatment, and this consent cannot be overruled by their parents.

    Children who are under 16 years old can consent to their own treatment if it is thought that they have enough intelligence, competence and understanding to fully appreciate what is involved in their treatment.

    If a child who is under 16, or a teenager who is 16 or 17 years old, refuses treatment and by doing so this may lead to their death or a severe permanent injury, their decision can be overruled by the courts. The court used is the Court of Protection, which is the legal body that oversees the operation of the Mental Capacity Act (2005).
    As the right to consent to your own medical treatment is gained before you legally "come of age" in the Muggle world, it might be reasonable to assume it's similar in the Wizarding world; perhaps 15 or 16, when they finish their OWLs? But if James is younger than this, then Harry/Ginny have to be convinced he can handle the condition alone, or he has to come off the potion while at Hogwarts without their knowledge. Obviously, this is quite a different set of circumstances, and having a loving family to support him/having him handle that alone would probably impact on his reaction to being potion-free.
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    I don't know if this is helpful for you but sometimes people with ADHD can you off the medication and still "function normally" (bad choice of words) at least for a while because the brain has "learned" from the medication how to respond tofor example everyday tasks. One could say that because the person now knows what it feels like to be "normal" (hate the word) they can learn how to accomplish things they before needed medication to do.

    Also, with ADHD one can get "hyperfocus" which means that sometimes they are better at focusing on things they are interested in (like Quidditch) than other people. One can never trust hyperfocus to appear, though, which is why sometimes things that the person is usually brilliant are not working at all.
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    He's 16 in the story. So he decided against treatment, yet Harry doesn't know. James thought it best not to tell him. I'm thinking since it seems to run in families that Dudley may have had some issues. So in the story James is barely passing.
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