Comorbidity Between Reading Disability and ADHD

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

download word file, 5 pages 3.0

Past studies have found that individuals with a reading disability (RD) have a deficit in phonological decoding; a key role in reading development where one learns to translate a string of letters into the resultant sounds. Also, studies have shown that a deficit in phoneme assessment (PA) and other phonological processing account for the majority of cases of those with a reading disability. Studies show that individuals with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have a deficiency in executive functioning, the cognitive functions that determine what is appropriate and what is not. These deficiencies are displayed through abnormal behavior. RD and ADHD are generally first identified during childhood or early adolescence.

It has been determined that there is a small but significant common genetic cause for RD and ADHD; however, the specifics are unknown. The phenocopy hypothesis suggests that a person diagnosed with one disorder (RD or ADHD) may display signs of the other disorder but the disorder itself does not truly exist.

For example, "a child might appear to be inattentive or hyperactive in the classroom because of frustration elicited by difficulties reading…" (159). In this study, measures of executive functioning and phoneme awareness were taken to evaluate those with RD and ADHD. The researchers hypothesized that "ADHD would be associated with deficits on measures of inhibition and verbal working memory but not on measures of the ability to shift cognitive set. In contrast [they] predicted that RD would be associated with either no executive functioning (EF) deficits at all, or mild EF deficits on measures of verbal working memory (160)." The current study took place at the Colorado Learning Disabilities Research Center and included 314 twins between 8 and 16 years of age from 27 school districts within a 150 mile radius of the Denver/Boulder area. If one twin showed signs...