New Study about ADHD

New Study Says Inattentive Students Less Likely to Finish High School In 1980, the formal diagnosis of ADHD, was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health.

­The first written description, however, was not in a medical journal or scientific paper. In 1845, a German scientist named Heinrich Hoffman provided the first behavioral description in a children’s book called “The Story of Fidgety Philip”, also know as "Struwwelpeter".

Because it was not until the late 20th century that researchers were able to define the various types of ADHD and their detrimental effect on performance and quality of life, the diagnosis become controversial. ADHD was considered by many parents, teachers, and professionals to be a cop-out for bad behavior or poor performance.

Nevertheless, the symptoms have always existed. While some of them create challenges, others – such as creativity – can actually be assets. In the past, the term was most often associated with hyperactivity, and these characteristics were easily detected in most children. Although research showed that some children, especially girls with ADHD, could be quiet and inattentive, these traits were less noticeable and harder to recognize.

According to the results of a twenty-year study just released by the University of Montreal, failure to complete high school is more often caused by inattentiveness than hyperactivity. Dr. Jean-Baptiste Pingault, who is associated with Sainte-Justine Mother and Child University Hospital, led the research that evaluated information from the teachers and parents of over 2,000 children.

The data produced several interesting recommendations and observations about school performance and ADHD:

  • It said that children with attention deficits need early intervention to prevent learning problems.
  • Traits of inattention as observed by teachers were inability to concentrate, distractibility, absentmindedness, and a tendency to give up.
  • Hyperactive behavior was defined as being fidgety or restless, running around, and squirming.
  • The study concluded that only 29% of students who were inattentive finished high school as opposed to 89% with no attention difficulties.
  • Around 40% of hyperactive children completed high school compared to 77% without those traits.
  • Even after the study was adjusted for contributing factors, such as health or socioeconomic level, inattentive students were still at a greater disadvantage than hyperactive ones.

Dr. Sylvana Cote, who participated in the study, summed up the results by saying: “In the school system, children who have attention difficulties are often forgotten because, unlike hyperactive kids, they don't disturb the class. However, we know that we can train children to pay attention through appropriate activities, and that can help encourage success at school."

The findings of the research will be published in the “Journal of American Psychiatry” on November 1, 2011. Source:­

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