It appears that children who have both lower IQ level and ADHD might not pose significant differences from kids with normal IQ and have ADHD. It is largely believed that ADHD can similarly affect children with varying IQ scores. A newly released study focused at analyzing characteristics of ADHD- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children with intellectual disability and normal intellect. The results of the study showed that ADHD subtypes and symptoms, and the secondary disorders proved to be very similar.

Seek specialized help for ADHD

The research team was led by Alka Ahuja from UK’s Institute of Psychological Medicine and Neurosciences. The aim of the study was to investigate if there were any clinical differences for ADHD kids with mild intellectual disability. For this study, the researchers defined mild intellectual disability to imply IQ or intelligence quotient between 50 and 7 points. According to authors involved in the study, mental health practitioners have reported that it is not possible for ADHD to occur among children who have intellectual disability. On the contrary, any symptom that appears to be related to ADHD is a secondary symptom resulting from their intellectual disability. According to the authors, this is simply ‘diagnostic overshadowing’ where most clinicians seem to overlook the importance of extra psychiatric diagnoses for kids diagnosed with intellectual disability. Nevertheless, they stressed on the importance for ADHD patients to seek specialized therapy treatment.

The study recruited 971 kids aged between 5 and 17 years and suffering from ADHD. The recruitment was done from 30 adolescent and child mental health centers in UK. The study excluded participants who had more serious psychiatric disorders as well as those IQ levels of less than 50. For the purpose of the study, these children were then categorized into two depending on whether their IQ was above or below 70 points. The group for ADHD intellectual disability had 97 children while 874 children were in ADHD only category. Another group of 58 kids were recruited for comparison purpose for the group without ADHD but qualified for the intellectual disability category.

The results taken after assessment

After the assessment, kids who only had ADHD were 85 % male and 73 percent of them had combined ADHD type, which means hyperactive, impulsive and inattentive. ADHD Inattentive type was 6 percent while hyperactive was 10 percent. For the other group with intellectual disability and ADHD, 87% were male and 82 percent had the ADHD combined type. Inattentive type represented 5 percent while Hyperactive Impulsive type was 6 percent. The conclusion derived from this result was that ODD rates and ADHD subtypes were quite similar for the two groups. The children with mild intellectual deficiency and ADHD appeared to be a typical clinical case of kids with ADHD apart from those with severe conduct problems. As such, the team concluded that regardless of how the condition is viewed as, it is still ADHD.