Study suggests math disabilities have a foundation distinct from that of ADHD.
A team of researchers from the Hospital for Sick Children at the University of Toronto studied the prevalence and development of math disabilities in children with ADHD. The study, led by Lucia Capano, supported previous research which has indicated that the prevalence of math LDs is as much as three times as high in children with ADHD as it is in the general population.
While ADHD symptoms, especially hyperactivity, may account for some difficulties in learning mathematics, the current study concluded that ADHD alone could not explain the prevalence of math LDs. The researchers found that children with ADHD and math disabilities had difficulty applying mathematical rules even in basic problems. If problems in math were due solely to ADHD, the researchers would have expected to find that the students had difficulty only in more complex problems, where greater attention was necessary.
Further, the study results suggest, along with previous research, that children suffering from both math and reading LDs most likely suffer from an underlying language-based LD, and that children with both types of LDs do not have the same cognitive profile as those with only math disabilities. They found that children with ADHD, and math and reading LDs had impaired receptive and expressive language abilities, which is distinct from both children with ADHD and math LD and children with ADHD and reading LD. The findings imply that complete psychological testing and a history of learning difficulties and development is necessary when making a diagnosis of ADHD.
To read the full article, go to The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry website.