Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common neurobehavioral disorder that results in functional impairment (Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). In the United States alone, a significant number of the youth have been diagnosed with ADHD. The disorder is characterized by pervasive inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity (Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Below are summaries of two studies that deal with certain aspects of ADHD, with specific reference to certain age groups.
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms in a Clinic Sample of Children and Adolescents with Pervasive Developmental Disorders.
Background and Objective of the Study
This article is a systematic chart review involving sample children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (Lee & Ousley, 2006). More specifically, the sample population consists of individuals with ASD, who were referred to psychopharmacological consultation program located at a university-based autism center (Lee & Ousley, 2006). The study conducted was designed to determine several findings, such as the frequency of incidence of ADHD in the sample population, a comparison of the symptoms of ADHD in children with other developmental disorders and in children with or without ADHD-related complaints, and the correlation between age and ADHD Rating Scale scores (Lee & Ousley, 2006).
The authors conducted this study as a response to the felt need for information and documentation of the relationship between two disorders, namely, ADHD and ASD (Lee & Ousley, 2006). The authors recognize that many researchers have studied the symptoms of individuals with ASD and ADHD; however, they believe that existing studies have not been extensive enough to provide sufficient information (Lee & Ousley, 2006).
Thus, the authors conducted a study to test four hypotheses, namely, that a significant number of individuals with ASD would be found to have symptoms of ADHS based on standardized measures, that individuals with ASD would display more prominent symptoms of ADHD when compared to individuals with other developmental disorders, that ADHD individuals that have chief complaints would have symptoms with greater intensity than individuals do not have chief complaints, and that a pattern can be deduced in the decrease of hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive symptoms of individuals with ADHD in relation to their respective ages (Lee & Ousley, 2006).
Lee and Ousley selected individuals who were previously diagnosed as having ASD and who were referred by their parents, psychologists, or physicians (Lee & Ousley, 2006). Considering the limited scope of the study, the authors selected only those who were younger than 21 years old. The authors wanted to have a sample that is faced with similar challenges, such as students (Lee & Ousley, 2006).
The methodology consisted mainly of regular and systematic evaluation of the patients between the period of January, 2003 and August, 2004 (Lee & Ousley, 2006). Facts were elicited from parents, who provided relevant data such as family medical history and psychiatric target symptoms through their answers to the clinical questionnaire provided. The authors likewise looked into the socioeconomic status of the sample population, using the Nam-Powers–Boyd Occupational Status Score (Lee & Ousley, 2006).
The sample population then underwent standardized evaluation by a board-certified child psychiatrist, using standard techniques such as interview, questionnaires, and clinical observation (Lee & Ousley, 2006). More importantly, the authors were careful in utilizing accepted modules for diagnosing autism, namely, the Autism Behavior Checklist and the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (Lee & Ousley, 2006). Finally, ADHD was diagnosed on the basis of interview and questionnaire of parents and the use of the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Rating Scale to determine the DSM-IV, which, in turn, is determined using the ADHD module of the K-SADS-PL (Lee & Ousley, 2006).
The authors were able to divide the sample population into three demographic groups, consisting of individuals who are below 12 years old, those who are less than 18 years old, and those who are above 18 (Lee & Ousley, 2006). The authors were not able to make a significant finding on the effect of socioeconomic standing of the population because the Nam-Powers–Boyd Occupational Status Scores reflect that the populating were all from a middle class background.
The authors found their first hypothesis supported by their finding that 78% of the individuals met the DSM-IV criteria for ADHD (Lee & Ousley, 2006). The second hypothesis was also backed by the finding that the group consisting of individuals with ASD registered higher scores in the ADHD diagnostic test compared to the group consisting of individuals with other developmental disorders, such as Asperger’s Disorder or PDD-NOS (Lee & Ousley, 2006). The third hypothesis, however, was not warranted because they found that ADHD symptoms were pervasive throughout both groups (Lee & Ousley, 2006). Finally, the fourth hypothesis found weak support, because the authors found that ADHD symptoms were found to be more severe in younger individuals (Lee & Ousley, 2006).
In sum, the authors concluded that the study effectively illustrated the prominence of ADHD symptoms among children and adolescents with ASD.
ADHD and Achievement: Meta-Analysis of the Child, Adolescent, and Adult Literatures and a Concomitant Study With College Students.
Background and Objective of the Study
This study is concerned with the academic performance of individuals who are diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The authors noted that there is substantial literature dealing with the observed performance of individuals with ADHD, such as failing grades, learning disabilities, and low scores in standardized achievement tests (Frazier, Glutting & Watkins, 2007).
The study is a combination of results in two studies. The first one dealt with the determination of the magnitude and extent of present literature on achievements of individuals with ADHD (Frazier, Glutting & Watkins, 2007). The second one is an application of the findings in the first study, particularly to college students, who are believed to be among the most understudied age groups with ADHD (Frazier, Glutting & Watkins, 2007).
The authors surveyed articles in PsycINFO and MEDLINE bibliographic databases, careful to limit the articles to the most recent ones. Thus, the authors originally limited their articles to those published after 1995. However, the authors deemed it wise to broaden their base to span a 15-year period, thus including articles published after 1990 (Frazier, Glutting & Watkins, 2007).
As for the second study, the authors formed a population of dyads, consisting of one student and a parent, with the student being a first-year student enrolled in a university. The students were representatives of 18 various states (Frazier, Glutting & Watkins, 2007).
ADHD was measured using the College ADHD Response Evaluation (CARE) as completed by both the student and the parent. In addition, parents and students completed their respective Student or Parent Response Inventory, a procedure that is based on the respondents’ personal assessment and answers to questionnaires (Frazier, Glutting & Watkins, 2007).
The authors made significant findings in their study. Firstly, they found that there is a moderate to large discrepancy in the academic achievement of individuals with ADHD and typical controls (Frazier, Glutting & Watkins, 2007). This is a major finding, because it substantiates the theory that ADHD does have a substantial and negative effect on the achievement and performance of individuals (Frazier, Glutting & Watkins, 2007). More particularly, the authors found that the largest effect sizes can be found in standardized tests, specifically reading measures (Frazier, Glutting & Watkins, 2007). The authors also concluded that ADHD is seen as correlating to problems in academic performance, even at the college level (Frazier, Glutting & Watkins, 2007).
ADD and Alternative Theories.
Another disorder common to kids is Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), which is believed to be caused by several factors, such as “poor infant nutrition, poor childhood nutrition, poor infant bonding, and poor lifestyles (Malacrida, 2002).” Nevertheless, the causes of ADD and its treatment are still subject to much controversy. More particularly, while there are recognized effective treatments to ADD, such as Ritalin and focus of the burden on educators and schools, there are several people who believe alternative theories are worth pursuing (Malacrida, 2002).
Among the alternative treatments to Ritalin include psychotherapeutic techniques, natural products, and highly technological interventions like neurofeedback (Malacrida, 2002). These alternatives questions the legitimacy of Ritalin as the sole medical treatment of ADD (Malacrida, 2002). There are still many studies needed to be conducted to test the validity of these alternative treatments; nevertheless, all of them show that ADD is a “legitimate, serious, and threatening disorder” that needs proper management and medication (Malacrida, 2002).
Ideas for Future Research
Both articles studied above on ADHD used standardized measures which mainly involve self-assessment by the patients and their parents. As suggested by Frazier, Glutting and Watkins, it would be interesting and fruitful if more objective standards and tests could be formulated in the future (2007). In addition, since both studies above concentrated on the effect of ADHD in the school and learning environment, it is best that these studies be taken a step further, by thinking of effective means by which problems linked with ADHD and poor academic performance could be addressed by various learning institutions, taking into account the specific needs of individuals with ADHD in their respective age groups.
These conclusions are in line with the last article, which pointed out the need for further research and study as to the proper treatment of ADD.
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). (2005). Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved March 7, 2006, from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/
Frazier, T. W., Glutting, J. J. & Watkins, M. W. (2007). ADHD and Achievement: Meta- Analysis of the Child, Adolescent, and Adult Literatures and a Concomitant Study With College Students. Journal of Learning Disabilities 40(1), 49-65.
Lee, D. O. & Ousley, O. Y. (2006). Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms in a Clinic Sample of Children and Adolescents with Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 16, 737-746.
Malacrida, C. (2002). Alternative Therapies and Attention Deficit Disorder: Discourses of Maternal Responsibility and Risk. Gender and Society 16(3), 366-385.