Children with autism, co-occurring ADHD symptoms lag in key measures of independence

A pair of new studies has provided new insight into the challenges faced by children on the autism spectrum who exhibit symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to the findings from researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), these children have difficulty with adaptive behavior, a key measure of independence.

Additionally, researchers pinpointed weaker functional connections in two large brain networks in children on the autism spectrum who have co-occurring ADHD symptoms.

The first study, published in theĀ Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, analyzed adaptive behavior, a key measure of how a person is able to function independently at home, school and in the community. Communication skills, self-care skills and social skills are examples of adaptive behavior. Many of these skill areas are often impaired in children on the autism spectrum, and the gap between autistic children and typically developing children widens during adolescence. Understanding factors that contribute to adaptive behavior impairments may reveal critical points for intervention.

Full story at Science Daily

Kids stress over public acts of discrimination

In a sign of the times, new USC research shows that some kids stressed out over recent public acts of discrimination show increased behavioral problems.

The study focused on Los Angeles-area teens from communities of color or families with limited education. Many of the youths reported concern that discrimination is a growing societal problem. The more worried the teens were, the worse their substance use, depression and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms became, the study shows.

The findings are a snapshot into the adolescent mind during a time of rising U.S. political tensions and concern about increasing discrimination in society. It also coincides with the beginning of new social policies proposed by the Trump administration, which the scientists note might affect mental health for the youngsters.

Full story at Science Daily

Licensing and motor vehicle crash risk among teens with ADHD

Adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are licensed to drive less often and, when this group is licensed, they have a greater risk of crashing, according to a new study published by JAMA Pediatrics.

The defining symptoms of ADHD (inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity) have been linked to unsafe driving behaviors.

Allison E. Curry, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and coauthors linked electronic health records to New Jersey traffic safety databases for more than 18,000 primary care patients of the CHOP health care network born from 1987 to 1997. Study analyses were restricted to 2,479 adolescents and young adults with ADHD and 15,865 without ADHD who had at least one full month of follow-up after becoming age-eligible for licensure, which in New Jersey is at the minimum age of 17.

Full story of motor vehicle crash risk among teens with ADHD at Science Daily

Parent training on ADHD using volunteers can help meet growing treatment needs

Using volunteers to train parents concerned about attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in their children can improve capacity to meet increasing ADHD treatment needs, finds a new study by NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

The study, published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, highlights an innovative approach to embracing community resources — tapping volunteers to act as therapists.

“Given the prevalence of ADHD in many countries and the limited access to evidence-based, non-medication treatment, there is a pressing need to expand service delivery systems. Our findings demonstrate that the service model of behavioral parent training we studied can effectively provide training to many families of youth with concerns about ADHD and is likely highly sustainable,” said Anil Chacko, associate professor of counseling psychology at NYU Steinhardt and the study’s author.

Full story of parent training on ADHD treatment at Science Daily

Benefits of long-term use of ADHD medications questioned

In a study that followed more than 500 children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) into adulthood, extended use of stimulant medication was linked with suppressed adult height but not with reduced symptoms of ADHD.

The findings suggest that short-term treatment of ADHD with stimulant medication is well justified by benefits that outweigh costs, but long-term treatment may be associated with growth-related costs that may not be balanced by symptom-related benefits.

Full story of long-term use of ADHD medication questioned at Science Daily

Children in foster care three times more likely to have ADHD diagnosis

Researchers already knew that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was the most common behavioral health diagnosis among children enrolled in Medicaid. A new study to be presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2015 National Conference & Exhibition in Washington, DC, found that children in foster care were three times more likely than others to have an ADHD diagnosis.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined 2011 Medicaid outpatient and prescription drug claims from multiple states across the United States. Among their key findings:

  • More than 1 in 4 children between the ages of 2 and 17 who were in foster care had received an ADHD diagnosis, compared to about 1 in 14 of all other children in Medicaid.

Full story of foster care children and ADHD at Science Daily