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Monday, November 19, 2007

ADHD and Future Academic Success

This NY Times article seems like a hopeful view of the possibilities for kids with ADD. From the article:

"Educators and psychologists have long feared that children entering school with behavior problems were doomed to fall behind in the upper grades. But two new studies suggest that those fears are exaggerated.

One concluded that kindergartners who are identified as troubled do as well academically as their peers in elementary school. The other found that children with attention deficit disorders suffer primarily from a delay in brain development, not from a deficit or flaw.

Experts say the findings of the two studies, being published today in separate journals, could change the way scientists, teachers and parents understand and manage children who are disruptive or emotionally withdrawn in the early years of school. The studies might even prompt a reassessment of the possible causes of disruptive behavior in some children."

One side note is that they found that math ability, at 5 or 6 not preschool, is tied to how well a child will do by 5th grade. This effect was found in boys and girls and well-off and poorer families. The take on that issue is that better math instruction in preschool would help. (But that brings up how many kids have preschool and of those who do, how many get math instruction?)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I found the article extremely puzzling. It seemed to me that many kinds of behavior, and many possible causes for the behaviors, were being inappropriately conflated. The two studies were about different subjects entirely, as far as I could tell -- why mix them up together?

I also thought I'd seen something about the cerebral cortex maturing at a slower rate for *gifted* children as well. Quoted on http://eideneurolearningblog.blogspot.com/2006/03/biology-of-late-bloomers-gifted-but.html: "the cortex in kids with the highest IQs — 121 to 149 — didn't reach maximum thickness until age 11. Children who were just slightly less bright reached that point at age 9, and those with average intelligence at around 6."

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

The article says: "About 80 percent of those with attention problems were taking or had taken stimulant drugs, and the researchers did not know the effect of the medications on brain development."

Does anyone know if the study directly addressed the question of whether the delayed pruning of nuerons could have been DUE to the drugs 80% of the ADHD kids were taking?

Anonymous said...

I found a good answer to one of my questions:

http://www.sciencentral.com/articles/view.php3?type=article&article_id=218393021

"The researchers statistically matched the children in each group for factors like intelligence. In another earlier study [http://www.sciencentral.com/articles/view.php3?language=english&type=&article_id=218392819], they had found that children with very high IQs have a different rate of brain development. "It was important to make sure that the kids with ADHD had the same IQ as the healthy kids we were comparing them with, to make sure that the differences we find don't just reflect differences in intelligence, they're actually something to do with the disorder of ADHD," says Shaw."

So at least they did make some effort to control for that effect.

Helen Schinske

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