High rate of undiagnosed ADHD in primary schools

The research, published in Pediatrics yesterday, found “striking” differences in the academic performance of the six- to eight-year-olds, prompting calls for earlier assessment and intervention for those with the disorder.

“They had a high burden of mental health comorbidities, were performing markedly worse academically and had poorer peer relations,” said the authors from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

The study involved second grade pupils from 43 government schools in metropolitan Melbourne who were screened for ADHD.

Only 31 out of the 179 children (17%) who screened positive for the disorder had a previous diagnosis of ADHD, the researchers said.
Compared with the 212 controls, who screened negative, researchers found that literacy and numeracy results were almost a full standard deviation poorer, and those with ADHD were significantly more likely to have problems with their peers.