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Monday, 10 February 2014

Factors affecting academic achievement in children with ADHD (2010)

This study explored the impact of methylphenidate on the academic achievement of 85 children, aged seven to 12, with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Methylphenidate, which may be more familiar under such trade names as Ritalin or Concerta, is a stimulant medication that acts on certain chemicals in the brain.

The study used subjective measures, like parents’ and teachers’ ratings of a child’s behaviour; objective measures of academic achievement like standardized tests; covariates like baseline performance, IQ, and psychosocial adversity; and current and total use of medication over a 12-month period.

The results highlight that neither medication nor academic supports significantly predict academic achievement, over and above the covariates of baseline performance and IQ.

The results indicate that teacher and parent ratings of children’s academic achievement were more positive when the child was receiving medication. However, there was no significant improvement found in the performance of these same children on a standardized measure of achievement.

A secondary finding of the current study was that there was no relationship between academic achievement at 12 months and the amount of in-school interventions. This finding raises the question of what resources children would need to demonstrate significant improvements in academics, and whether medication could facilitate learning under these specific educational interventions, the authors note.