Current Attention Disorders Reports

, 1:152

First online:

ADHD and learning disabilities: Research findings and clinical implications

  • George J. DuPaulAffiliated withCollege of Education, Lehigh University Email author 
  • , Robert J. Volpe

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Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at higher than average risk for academic achievement difficulties and learning disabilities (LDs). Several decades of research indicate that about 27% to 31% of students with ADHD also have LDs, although estimates vary widely depending on the criteria used to define LDs. Recent studies have demonstrated that 1) the association between ADHD and achievement difficulties is driven more by inattentive than hyperactive-impulsive symptoms, 2) deficits in working memory and processing speed are shared across ADHD and LDs, 3) multiple genes seem involved in the etiology of both ADHD and reading disabilities, and 4) neither cognitive nor behavioral constructs fully account for the relationship between ADHD and LDs. Comprehensive longitudinal studies assessing children with ADHD, LDs, and combined disorders are necessary to further explicate the relationship between these two disorders.