Catching ADHD Early Means Your Kid Will Live In Harmony With Standardized Math Testing

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ADHDChildren with ADHD may encounter some scholastic problems with regards to testing and certain assignments. But provided that the disorder is caught early, standardized math testing may not be one of them.

Reuters reports that American and Icelandic researchers wanted to discern whether ADHD medication, like Vyvanse, Ritalin and Concerta, actually helps kids in an academic setting. Helga Zoega, the lead author on the Icelandic study, went on record as saying that there is no evidence to suggest that Ritalin helps children scholastically in the long term. But after reviewing the test scores of Icelandic children (from elementary to middle school), turns out it does — depending on when the drugs were administered:

Kids with no record of an ADHD diagnosis tended to score similarly on the standardized math and language arts tests given in fourth and seventh grade. Those who were medicated for the condition were more likely to have their scores decline over the years – especially when stimulants weren’t started until later on.

For math exams in particular, students who started on stimulants within one year of their fourth grade tests had an average score decline of less than one percent between that and their seventh-grade exam – compared to a more than nine percent drop for those who didn’t get treated until sixth or seventh grade.

J. Russell Ramsay, who studies ADHD at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, touts the “sooner than later” mantra with regards to exploring treatment. But Zoega reminds us that “intervention” is what’s needed at a young age — not necessarily drugs:

“Not all kids need medication,” Zoega said. “It’s important to think about whether alternative treatment options, whether earlier intervention with those could have a beneficial effect.”

And considering that more American children are on ADHD medication than ever, perhaps those “alternative treatment options” need more visiting.

(photo: Mike Flippo/ Shutterstock)