How does ADHD affect intelligence?

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ADHD is defined as a mental health disorder, and it’s one that is often diagnosed in early or mid childhood. ADHD can be tricky to diagnose in young children, since many of the symptoms associated with it are often seen in children under five, albeit to a lesser degree. Some of the most well-known and commonly seen symptoms of ADHD include impatience, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Many people still believe the myth that ADHD is connected to delays in cognitive development in children, or that ADHD necessarily means a child will have a lower IQ. This is far from true; actually, ADHD can present in children and adults with a range of intelligences, and the two are not really connected at all.

Do children with ADHD struggle with cognitive tasks?

One possible reason for the misconception that children with ADHD are not as bright is that ADHD sufferers do find it harder to concentrate, sit still, and stay focused on tasks. This can be misinterpreted in an undiagnosed child, leading parents and teachers to assume that their child doesn’t understand the tasks being set, and can also cause a bright child to struggle academically if they can’t focus on their schoolwork.

Can ADHD be connected with a high IQ?

More recently, some studies have been conducted into exploring the opposite hypothesis: whether ADHD is actually correlated with a high IQ, or more likely to be seen in ‘gifted’ children. At the moment, studies are inconclusive, but some confirm the notion that ADHD and IQ are separate entities.

Will my child’s ADHD affect their academic performance?

The most important thing to do if you suspect your child may have ADHD is to seek a diagnosis as soon as possible. Current evidence suggests that ADHD and IQ should be considered separately, and modern lines of treatment for ADHD do just that. While children with ADHD are no less bright than their more neurotypical peers, they may need a little extra help, whether that is offered in the form of medication or therapy, in order to stay focused in school and keep on top of their homework.

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