Motor Skills Development in Children With Inattentive Versus Combined Subtypes of ADHD

Applied neuropsychology. Child 04/2014; 3(2):145-51. DOI: 10.1080/21622965.2012.759466
Source: PubMed


The relations between attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and motor skills are well documented, with research indicating both early and lifelong motor deficits in children with this disorder. Despite neuroanatomical and neurodevelopmental differences, which may predict differential rates of motor impairment between ADHD subtypes, evaluation of motor skill deficits in children with different presentations are limited in scope and equivocal in findings. The present investigation evaluated early motor development history and objectively measured motor skills in children with ADHD-Inattentive subtype (ADHD-I) and ADHD-Combined subtype (ADHD-C). One hundred and one children with ADHD-I (n = 53) and ADHD-C (n = 48) were included. Variables included Full-Scale IQ (FSIQ), history of motor delays, and utilization of early intervention services, as well as objectively measured motor impairment as assessed via tasks of fine-motor coordination. No between-group differences were found for FSIQ, but differences in age emerged, with the ADHD-I group being older. No differences in early motor delays were observed, though a considerably higher percentage of children with ADHD-C demonstrated early difficulties. Surprisingly, although children and adolescents with ADHD-C reported more frequent utilization of early intervention services, those with ADHD-I exhibited greater levels of current motor impairment on objective tasks. Given the over-representation of older children in the ADHD-I group, data were reanalyzed after excluding participants older than 10 years of age. Although the between-group differences were no longer significant, more than twice the number of parents of children with ADHD-C reported early motor delays, as compared with the ADHD-I group. Overall, children with ADHD-I were more likely to exhibit current objectively measured motor impairment, possibly due to later identification, less intervention, and/or different neurodevelopmental substrates underlying this disorder subtype.

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