Children With AD/HD Have Significant Functional Disabilities Related to Attention Deficit

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Pediatric researchers from the University at Buffalo and Children's Hospital of Buffalo have shown that children diagnosed with attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) have as much functional disability as children with mild mental retardation and are not merely exhibiting "inconvenient" behavior.

Results of the study were presented here today at the annual meeting of the Society for Pediatric Research.

Using a standard developed at UB for use by the developmental- and rehabilitation- medicine community to assess a patient's needs for rehabilitation services, the researchers determined that most of the 43 children in their preliminary study were significantly less able to care for themselves, recognize appropriate social behavior and communicate than children of similar age who were not diagnosed with the disorder.

"When we applied this standard measure of disability to these children, we found that children who get referred for hyperactivity have high levels of documentable needs and require a lot more help than other children their age," said Thomas M. Lock, M.D., who presented the results. Lock is UB clinical assistant professor of pediatrics and associate medical director of the Robert Warner Rehabilitation Center at Children's Hospital of Buffalo.

Lock said the results could have significant impact now because, as of this month, children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder who routinely have been receiving federal Supplementary Security Income funds must demonstrate they are truly disabled.

Considerable controversy exists within the medical and education communities about whether AD/HD is a disability or a behavioral problem. Diagnosis of the disorder occurs most often in school-age children and usually is precipitated by disruptive classroom demeanor.

Lock and colleagues felt that if functional deficits of children with AD/HD could be documented outside of s

Contact: Lois Baker
University at Buffalo

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