Comorbidity of ADHD and Motor Problems in Children–Some Solutions

Up to 50% of children with ADHD have motor problems which can have a severe impact on their daily lives. It seems that little attention is placed on this comorbidity issue and it goes untreated.
A study was conducted by interviews and questionnaire in The Netherlands with 235 children with ADHD and 108 controls showing that half of motor-affected children had received physiotherapy. Children that were treated had more severe motor problems but less frequently presented with comorbid anxiety and conduct disorder. Both groups (treated and untreated) were of the same general age, and rated similarly on ADHD testing scales and parental socio-economic status.
Apparently at the time of the survey undertreatment of motor problems in ADHD children occurs and behavioral factors play a role in referral and intervention.
Health workers should be aware of the impact of motor problems on the daily life of children with ADHD
 In clinical practice there seems to be less attention given to motor problems. Motor problems are usually not part of assessments for ADHD and are typically not included in intervention programs. A  child’s popularity and self-esteem is usually affected. Motor problems can cause difficulties in, for example, riding a bicycle, dressing, tying shoelaces or causing poor handwriting and sports abilities and can  further reduce children’s social participation and make them even more disadvantaged.
There are studies that have conclusively shown that physiotherapy of motor problems, especially child–centered, task-oriented approaches, can ameliorate motor disability and thus quality of life. Physical therapists  or occupational therapists can deliver interventions.  Parents and teachers can be instructed to manage motor problems as well, which may be helpful in case there are limited professional resources.
In the current study, the researchers examined if they could substantiate the clinical impression that motor problems don’t receive enough attention in the treatment of ADHD comorbid disorders. The main goal was to investigate in a well-diagnosed sample of children that had combined subtype ADHD, how many and which children were treated for motor problems. The investigation determined if treated and untreated children differed in age, gender, ADHD inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms scores, motor scores,  comorbidity with other conditions  such as: mood disorders, anxiety disorders,  conduct disorder, defiant disorder and socio-economic status of parents.This was done in order to predict actual treatment administration.
To detect  motor difficulties the Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire  was completed by parents, and the Groningen Motor Observation scale was completed by teachers.
The parental socio-economic status was based on information concerning parents’ professions, gathered during the PACS interview. Professions were categorised into five levels, from manual labor to academic work.
A questionnaire concerning physical domains was designed for this study. This questionnaire was completed by parents and contained 36 questions about  motor milestones, sleep habits, development, infections, hospital admissions, medication and use of physiotherapy. The question that was evaluated in this study was : ‘Has your child ever been treated for motor problems by a physiotherapist?’
The study confirmed the impression that motor problems of children with ADHD are a neglected area of clinical attention. Roughly only half of the children with ADHD and motor problems in the study had received physiotherapy.
Apparently parents seek help earlier than teachers for children that are ADHD  This finding may point to a lack of communication on this subject between teacher and parents.
Physiotherapy or occupational therapy has been proven effective for treating motor problems.  Modern intervention methods are child-focused and help children  acquire important skills for daily activities, which can increase their quality of life.
When a child from the age of 5 and up develops motor problems due to ADHD there is a physical therapy solution that can be very helpful. Referred to as the TUTOR system it consists of a HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR. Originally designed for patients that are recovering from a stroke, brain or spinal cord injury, CP, MS or many other upper or lower limb disabilities the TUTORs incorporate exclusive and challenging games into sensor-containing gloves and braces that allow the user to get intensive exercises. The ADHD child will actually enjoy using these devices at the same time that they are alleviating his motor problems.
Currently in use leading rehabilitation facilities around the world the TUTORs are fully certified by the FDA and CE.
For further information see WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL

One response to this post.

  1. One thing I noticed a lack of attention to here is also the fact that many ADHD children tend to be offspring of ADHD adults. I know because I am ADD and so is my

    daughter. However, I was diagnosed only after my daughter was diagnosed, thus answering a lot of questions for her and myself.


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