Writing Difficulties and ADHD

A recent study revealed that children, and especially girls, with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are more likely to have writing difficulties. These problems include poor spelling, grammar and handwriting.

As parents of ADHD kids already know, difficulties in reading or math are common signs for teachers when it comes to identifying the disorder. However, “written-language disorder is kind of overlooked,” according to study author Dr. Slavica Katusic.

She went on to explain that writing “is a critical skill for academic success, social and behavioral well-being.” She added that if writing problems aren’t identified early on, it can affect children into their adult years.

Specialists who were not involved in the study have confirmed the logic of the results. Annette Majnemer studied handwriting in kids with ADHD at McGill University in Montreal. She agreed that many children suffering from ADHD have difficulties in the field.

“It might be partially the fact that they’re inattentive and distractible and hyperactive,” she said, adding that other possible causes are problems with motor skills and coordination.

Dr. Katusic stated that genetics may also contribute to ADHD and writing problems. No matter what the cause, Katusic explains that treatment and early identification of learning disabilities can contribute greatly to children’s lives. It is important to identify all possible learning problems in a child before planning a treatment, she said.

“When parents notice something or teachers notice something, kids have to be treated not only for ADHD, but they have to be tested to see if they have other learning problems,” she said. “Clinicians and the teachers have to emphasize that the testing has to be done for everything, every kind of learning disability. It has to be identified early and the treatment has to start early.”