ADHD and Development

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In America, over sixty-four million children are being/are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or better known as ADHD. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is categorized as a neurodevelopmental disorder. This neurodevelopmental disorder demonstrates signs/symptoms that involve trouble concentrating, paying attention, staying organized, and/or remembering details. Some specific examples could be that a child may daydream a lot, is forgetful, frequently misplacing items, fidgets, talks excessively, makes careless mistakes, has difficulty with resisting temptation, taking turns proves to be problematic, and even occasionally struggles getting along with others (Holland, Riley, & Krucik, 2017).

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Among those diagnosed must are between the ages of 4 to 17 with the average age of diagnosis at 7. This is due to the fact that most children show the symptoms between the ages of three to six. Males are almost three times as likely to have a diagnosis of ADHD than females. Demographics can also play a vital role in those affected. Children that live two times below the poverty level have nearly double the probability of being diagnosed and those that come from English speaking homes have a higher, four times, increase the likelihood of ADHD (Holland, Riley, & Krucik, 2017. There are many possibilities when it comes to the causes of ADHD as researchers are constantly trying to find the route and enhance the management of ADHD treatment. The most probable cause has to do with genetics, but there are also others, for instance, brain injuries, environmental exposures, alcohol or substance abuse during a mother’s pregnancy, premature birth, and/or low birth weight. These causes are in opposition to those of society’s view of ADHD as an overexposure to sugars or television (Anonymous, 2018). Attention deficient hyperactivity disorder cases and diagnoses have been increasing dramatically in the past few years, affecting more and more children leading to greater concern in the classroom. The purpose of this paper is to explore parental/genetics , intellectual, language, socio-ecological, and emotional development among children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.


The genetics of attention deficient hyperactivity disorder continue to produce results that a child’s genes may have a more active impact on the neurodevelopmental disorder. Research by Elia and Devoto (2007) was conducted via genome-wide linkage studies in a variety of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder families. The authors combed through a multitude of gene variants and confirmed the connection between genes and ADHD. Elia and Devoto provided information on the prevalence of heredity-causing ADHD.

The article provides research with confirmed association between ADHD and genes, but it concludes that the risk may be minimal. The review of the literature provides insight into a multitude of studies and their results. The methods to the author’s research is lacking, which enables the possibility of a study replication. The conclusion of this research provided the proven hypothesis and provided the notation the advancement in technology will help further determine the heredity of ADHD.

Nikolas and Burt (2010) used a series of studies with relevant data to identify research to conduct a meta-analysis in regard to phenotypes of interest. The authors presented a model showing the core dimensions of attention (INATT) and hyperactive (HYP), which forms the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which helps make the genetic connection. Nikolas and Burt used seventy-nine twin and adoption studies to determine that inattention had a more significant genetic effect.

The most positive aspect of this article is its simplicity of the statement of the research problem and the most negative aspect is the validity as mentioned by the authors. The limitations of this study, though provided a research with the notation that is an incomplete study due to the fact that ADHD is not a single phenotype, so a researcher would need to conduct separate inattention and hyperactivity data collection. The strong conclusion allows for a research to set sights on what further studies are necessary, including that a research would need to conduct multiple studies looking into both genetic factors and their influence on ADHD by separating them first and then placing them together meaning a more inclusive research method.


Attention deficient hyperactivity disorder can affect children of any and all intelligence levels. Costa et al. (2014) examined fluid intelligence and behavioral problems of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as a means to distinguish its effects on academic performance. The authors conducted a research study, where children with ADHD were evaluated using Raven’s Colored Progressive Matrices, spelling and math achievement tests, and an ADHD symptom checklist provided with parental insight. Costa et al. found that the impact of fluid intelligence is significant in academic test results. The authors concluded that inattention proved to be a huge mediator in the relationship between intelligence and academic performance. The authors highlight the importance of early identification to aid in the prevention of low academic performance.

Furthermore, Rommel, Rijsdijk, Greven, Asherson, and Kuntsi (2015) studied the relationship of attention deficit disorder and IQ scores. The authors like Costa et al. used the Raven’s Progressive Matrices, in addition to, a Conners Rating Symptoms Scale to establish the association between intelligence and ADHD. Rommel et al. found that over time ADHD and its underlying symptoms may but adolescents, specifically those of twelve, fourteen, and sixteen years of age, at a higher risk for a decreased IQ score. This research approach provides information that can be used to help provide interventions to alleviate the decreased IQ score possibilities.

Often times the connotation from students with ADHD are negative in relation to academic performance and/or IQ scores. To better understand the impact of an IQ score, it is important to note that IQ represents an intelligence quotient found from the total score derived from several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence. The negative association of low academic performance and IQ score can be quite unclear at times, which allows for the outside influence to change someone’s perspective of a specific student. According to Costa et al., (2014), poor academic performance is noticeable in written language and mathematics. Which in turn is reflected in lower IQ scores as mentioned by Rommel, Rijsdijk, Greven, Asheron, and Kuntsi (2015). Reading and mathematics are two of the most critical subjects in a child’s education, so if a student is performing at a low level there is a cause for worry. The worry may come from the inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity of a student more so than that student’s true cognitive ability. Findings show that direct effects of hyperactivity-impulsivity declined when inattention was brought into the equation, but show the effect of inattention is marginally significant (Costa et al., 2014). Meaning that hyperactivity-impulsivity is accounted for by the huge amount of inattention problems. Furthermore, behavioral inattention has become the main focus to guide ADHD students in overcoming academic problems throughout their educational journey.


Children who are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are more likely to have lower academic functioning and more language problems than their typically developing peers. After conducting research on ADHD children between the ages of six and eight in Melbourne, Australia, Sciberras et al. (2014) concluded that children with ADHD had a higher prevalence of language problems which is reflected in their academic performance. The authors asked parents and teachers to complete a Conners 3 ADHD Index for an initial diagnosis. Then, created groups and assessed orally by utilizing the Clinical Evaluation of Language foundations. Sciberras et al. found that forty percent of children in the study’s ADHD group had language problems. Thus, language problems are more prominent in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The most positive component of this article was its simplicity to understand and the format of the writing. The in the statement of research problem was missing, but the methods section went into detail of the specific evaluations used and how they created two groups to test their hypothesis. The limitations of this study included the small size; to create a more valid conclusion, there would need to be more evaluations of oral language. The conclusion provided a reader with deeper, though intriguing statements to lead to possible further investigations in relation to language problems and ADHD.

In agreement with Scriberras et al., Korrel et al. (2017) states that children with ADHD have a higher risk for language problems than their peers. The authors conducted a research review of studies that connected and compared ADHD with language to discover the types of most prevalent language problems. Authors concluded through their in-depth research of twenty-one research studies that those with ADHD have higher risks of problems with their expressive, receptive, and pragmatic language.

As the research expresses its hypothesis in the introduction, it did not review any previous literature, but did reference that were previous studies conducted. The discussion section of this research was the positive aspect as it describes in great detail the results of each language component and provides further research necessary. The discussion allows eludes to a multitude of problems and other critical education areas that language problems of ADHD children would be.


According to Nguyen et al. (2018), ADHD can impair a child’s daily functioning ability especially during school. The authors aimed to see if school engagement can aid in protecting against ADHD or if environmental factors play a major role. Nguyen et al. investigated a study using data from the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health. The authors found that school engagement had a direct effect on ADHD because a lower engagement had greater risk of ADHD diagnosis. As engagement increase, ADHD diagnosis decreases. In addition, that environmental factors correlates indirectly to ADHD. It was found that family and community environmental factors play a vital role in ADHD diagnosis and a child with ADHD success academically.

The methods section of this research was broken down into a variety of smaller subheadings allowing for better concept knowledge and figures that support their findings. The results from this study provide a great connection back to the hypothesis. The hypothesis is clearly stated and then expanded upon for further research.

A potentially huge environmental factor for a child with ADHD would include their socioeconomic status (SES). After studying data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, Russell, A., Ford, Russell, G. (2015) came to the conclusion that socioeconomic disadvantage and home environmental factors were major contributors in their impact on children with ADHD. The authors created a multiple mediation model, which was used to decipher factors of SES from birth to three years old, which typically is the age ADHD symptoms become more prominent, and the diagnosis of ADHD at around age seven. Russell et al. found that financial difficulties was a strong predictor for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder meaning that the family/home environment can intensify the expression of ADHD. The hyperactivity component of the neurodevelopmental disorder is likely to be displayed more frequently with family environmental stressors.

The article explains the socioeconomic status was measured in eight ways and described their contributions to . However, the authors found that their hypothesis was incorrect, but they truly do not explain why. One possible explanation is that environmental role must have accounted for more than their original thinking.

Emotional Functioning/Peer Relations

Through a longitudinal investigation of children in the age range of six to ten Thorrell et al (2017) aimed to the find the causation between ADHD symptoms and emotional functioning, specifically regarding a child’s peer relations. The authors asked parents to rate their child’s ADHD symptoms in addition to their emotional (anger, fear, happiness, sadness) regulation/reactivity. This information was compared at age six to a child’s sociometric peer nominations. This was a repeated process at the age of nine. Thus, the authors concluded that children with higher levels of ADHD combined with high levels of dysregulation and/or lower reactivity led negative peer nominations. Additionally, those with high levels of ADHD and higher anger reactivity showed negative peer nominations. It concludes the fact that more studies are necessary to help clarify specific emotions and their effect on emotional functioning of a child with ADHD.

The amount of limitations for this study and lack of a review of literature could provide some discrepancy in the reliability and validity of this research. The results and discussion were thoroughly explained upon with examples for the possibility of other projected results.

In line with Thorrell et al. , other studies have shown that peer relations are a crucial component in a child’s emotional functioning; this includes those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Diamantopoulou , Henricsson, and Rydell (2005) conducted research that looked into the ADHD symptoms and peer relations of six-hundred thirty-five 12-year-old children. The authors focused on how the emotional functioning can affect the peer relations especially based upon genders. The study utilized teacher ratings, self-reports, and sociometric nominations. The findings allowed for Diamantopoulou et al. to conclude ADHD symptoms provide negative peer relations especially in girls who display high levels of ADHD symptoms. It was also found the children with ADHD did not display more loneliness, which would be an assumption made by those who saw children with ADHD having negative peer interactions.

Reading this thoroughly organized article allowed for research to be reliability, but it waivered in its ability to be reproduced. The validity was evident in the discussion and introduction of the research. The limitations provide avenues for further research.


In summary, what can be drawn from related literature is attention deficient hyperactivity disorder has many influential components with the opportunity to provide a child with needed support. Educators play a vital role in providing children with ADHD the support. The recommendations that follow show the ways educators can play their part.

One recommendation would be to provide students with ADHD more appropriate levels language assessments. This recommendation is in response to a Korel et al. review, which proved that children with ADHD have deficiencies in their language functioning. As many students with ADHD may need assessments configured of simple and complex measures of language specifically structure and/or form. Providing ADHD students with assessments that measure and test their level will ensure they are not missing the small pieces. Positive outcomes from this recommendation would allow for a better understanding of an individual child’s knowledge of language structure. Since language is a strong predictor of academic functioning, this recommendation allows an educator or anyone working with a child diagnosed with ADHD to find root in language and build upon the structure to formulate better academic performance.

Another recommendation based on the findings of poor academic performance of children with ADHD by Costa et al. is to provide academic interventions. Academic interventions would help increase fluid intelligence and decrease behavioral inattention problems. Since academic performance is low mainly due to inattention, it is best to suggest a variety of strategies to combat that. Some suggested strategies to combat inattention include: limiting directions, work load limits, work breaks, checklists, visual aids, learning games, and cooperative learning. There is the potential for a wide variety of positive outcomes for this recommendation. With the cooperative learning and learning games, students will be able to actively move about and think creatively allowing their inattention to static lectures to be pushed aside for their own thinking. Students will be able to follow more closely and not get lost in with limited directions because their attention will be needed for a shorten length of time. The shorten length of time will allow for their brains to process before it turns their attention away to wondering thoughts. Work load limits will alleviate some tendencies to become off task due to the inattention, which in turn will provide more quality work and improved academic performance.

As mentioned in the research study conducted by Russell et al. socioeconomic status plays major role in the ADHD diagnosis, but that can not necessarily be changed by educators. However, socioeconomic status is part of the environment a child is in and that can be altered to best support a child with ADHD. This recommendation to change the engagement environment of a child with ADHD comes as a result of reviewing the literature written by Nguygen et al. The authors stated that a child’s school engagement can protect against ADHD. Meaning the environment, we, as educators, set for our students with ADHD can alter the likelihood of ADHD breakouts or diagnosis.

Recommendations for school engagement include cooperative learning, which will increase a child’s desire to be actively engaged. Creating a predictable schedule helps put a child at ease and gives them the ability to distinguish specific times of engagement. Specific engagement may be in the form of rewards. Students with ADHD respond well to being rewarded. Rewarding ADHD students will increase student engagement and the probability of ADHD diagnosis will decrease.


The purpose of this review was to view five developmental concepts of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and how they can apply to the classroom. It is clear from the research reviewed that if an educator is willing to put these recommendations in place, they will reap the benefits of overall better academic performance, language, and student engagement by their students with ADHD.

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ADHD and Development. (2019, Oct 25). Retrieved from