High IQ Kids With ADHD – Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D.

Report by Thomas E. Brown, PhD

Bright students are not immune from the cognitive difficulties that plague other children and adolescents with attention deficit disorder, a new Yale study has found.

For the complete report: High-IQ-Kids-with-ADHD

Youth with high IQs and ADHD suffered difficulty with working memory, processing speed, organization and focus, according to the study published online July 26 in the Open Journal of Psychiatry.

“When children and adolescents with high IQ and ADD are struggling with their studies, parents, teachers and physicians tend to blame their difficulties with focus and output on laziness or lack of motivation.,” said Thomas E. Brown, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, associate director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders and senior author of the study. “They assume that a high IQ student cannot suffer from ADD.”

Researchers identified 117 students ages six to 17 years old with IQ scores within the top 9% of the population. All these students fully met diagnostic criteria for ADD. The study measured IQ, narrative recall and ability to organize and initiate tasks while managing frustration.

Brown found patterns of impairment in all of these measures in this sample of youths with ADD.

For instance, a high IQ child without ADD is likely to have high scores on all four sections of the IQ test, but 75-80% of those with ADD scored high on two sections but significantly lower on working memory and processing speed. In the narrative recall test, most children who do well on the verbal portion of the IQ test do well on recall, high IQ children with ADD did considerably worse.

High IQ children with ADD are rarely diagnosed with ADD until late in their schooling, after the disorder has caused lasting damage to their academics and self-esteem, Brown said.

Brown hopes that this study increases awareness of parents, educators and physicians that ADD can occur in smart children – and that it can be diagnosed and treated.

This study extends findings these same researchers obtained in an earlier published study of 157 high IQ adults with ADD. Similar results were obtained in both age groups.

Reprinted with permission.  All rights reserved.

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