Neurodevelopmental profiles for a sample of children originally diagnosed with ADHD
Strahan, Laurel Lee
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Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a commonly diagnosed childhood psychological disorder. The diagnosis of this disorder is ideally based upon clinical evaluation rather than a singular test or measurement. As the etiology and pathology of ADHD are not fully agreed upon by the medical and psychological professions, appropriate diagnosis and treatment are often difficult to attain. Further confounding this situation is the knowledge that many disorders have symptoms that overlap with ADHD or exist concurrently, creating a comorbid condition. These issues lead to frequent misdiagnosis and the inappropriate medication of children who may benefit from non-chemical interventions. The current study examines select NEPSY subtest score profiles of children who had originally been diagnosed with ADHD. Standardized assessment yielded 3 subgroups within the sample: children meeting criteria for ADHD, children meeting criteria for another clinical diagnosis, and children who present with neither ADHD nor other clinical disorders. It was hypothesized that although these children do not present with a diagnosable disorder, a mosaic of neurocognitve deficits may mimic ADHD symptomatology. Results indicate no significant effects for age or gender. Examination of sample score profiles on the NEPSY indicate a similar pattern of neurodevelopmental weaknesses within each of the three groups. These patterns of weaknesses may manifest as behaviors that mimic those of ADHD, and may be the impetus for a misdiagnosis of the child as such. This may also support, however, the theory that ADHD exists along a continuum, with varying degrees of manifested airment.