Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a
childhood condition that we have all heard a lot about over the last 20 years. Families of those with ADHD, however, may have been the only ones who realized that it often comes accompanied by a developmental reading disability (RD). Children who have difficulty reading are often found to have symptoms of ADHD, but the cause for this connection has yet to be discovered. However, a new study printed by the journal Cortex is reporting that the two disorders have common genetic influences.
As part of an ongoing study of the causes for reading disabilities, ADHD and related disorders, researchers studied and compared 457 pairs of both identical and non-identical twins from the Colorado Learning Disabilities Research Center. The twins, with and without RD, underwent testing to measure cognitive ability, reading skills, language skills and processing speed. The results were then analyzed to try to find a genetic cause.
Researchers discovered that ADHD and RD are both influenced by a variety of factors. Both disorders, however, are connected with a slower processing speed, and people who have one of the disorders were more likely to have the other disorder as well. This led the researchers to conclude that processing speed can be used as a reference in further studies regarding ADHD and RD.
As we try to understand the reasoning for ADHD, this study will allow researchers, teachers and families to better relate to and help children who are having difficulty reading, as well as children who have ADHD. If the brain is taking longer to understand the information it is receiving, it can be frustrating for the child. It is easy to see how one disorder can greatly affect the other.