A study by the Telethon Kids Institute has found children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have significantly worse school outcomes than children without the disorder.  The Study ‘Literacy and Numeracy Underachievement in Boys and Girls with ADHD’, published in the Journal of Attention Disorders, compared de-identified population data from 6,819 children with ADHD with 14,451 children without ADHD.

Lead author and paediatrician Professor Desiree Silva said the research found both boys and girls with ADHD were significantly less likely to reach the minimum benchmark scores for numeracy, reading, spelling and writing.

Introduction: (article excerpt)
ADHD is one of the commonest mental health disorders in childhood with a prevalence of 5.3% (Polanczyk, de Lima, Horta, Biederman, & Rohde, 2007). The core symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2000, 2013) affect academic functioning (Biederman et al., 1996; Loe & Feldman, 2007; Massetti et al., 2008; Rapport, Scanlan, & Denney, 1999; Sexton, Gelhorn, Bell, & Classi, 2012; Tannock, 1998). Comorbidities are common in children diagnosed with ADHD (Yoshimasu et al., 2012). 

A total of 30% to 50% can have learning difficulties (August & Garfinkel, 1990;Gillberg et al., 2004), including numeracy difficulties or dyscalculia in 11% (Monuteaux, Faraone, Herzig, Navsaria, & Biederman, 2005), and reading difficulty or dyslexia in 23% to 49% (Pennington, Willcutt, & Rhee, 2005; Sexton et al., 2012; Willcutt & Pennington, 2000; Willcutt, Pennington, Olson, Chhabildas, & Hulslander, 2005). Fine motor difficulties resulting in written language disorders can occur in up to 60% of children with ADHD by 19 years of age compared with 12% in non-ADHD children (Langmaid, Papadopoulos, Johnson, Phillips, & Rinehart, 2014; Rosenblum, Epsztein, & Josman, 2008; Yoshimasu et al., 2011). These learning difficulties are often interrelated and affect fluency, word recognition, decoding, spelling, and putting thoughts onto paper, which individually or in combination can result in underachievement and a greater need for educational assistance (Butterworth & Kovas, 2013; Jensen et al., 2004).

Read the full article here

Telethon Kids Institute Media Release