Several Factors Affect Academic Performance in ADHD Children

In recent research, it has been reported that genetics may play a large role in the reading performance of children with ADHD. However, the same study showed that environment was a larger factor than genetic make-up in how a child performed in mathematics. Lee A. Thompson, chair of Case Western Reserve University’s Psychological Sciences Department, who led the study said, “If we have this much overlap between genes that affect behaviors of ADHD and academic achievement, it gives validity to the relation of ADHD behaviors and poor academics.” The study targeted hyperactivity and inattention as its primary symptoms. This new information may allow experts to better identify influences that may change academic performance.

© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Karie


    April 26th, 2011 at 3:33 AM

    And how about a teacher who really cares more about this child being a success? Surely that has to play a role in student performance.

  • Don's Behaviour Problem In Children Blog

    Don's Behaviour Problem In Children Blog

    April 26th, 2011 at 9:54 AM

    I have to somewhat disagree on this particular post. while it is undeniable that some children have character traits that lead to hyper activity but parenting these children accordingly is far more effective than labeling and feeding them drugs to be “normal”. Genetic has little to do with the way they will behave. Parents must adapt to the child they have and teach him/her mechanisms that help controlling the impulses

  • Suthers


    April 26th, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    Genetic things,as far as I believe, play a big role in physical attributes and maybe even disorders in rare cases .But how a child goes about things,and other things like that are all decided by the environment,the contributing people and other things.

  • Penny Rayas

    Penny Rayas

    April 26th, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    Hello everyone. The study is general but individual children differ on how their behavior manifests and how much is environment or heredity is responsible for the child’s behavior. All we know is that treatment works, so a well trained caring teacher a good therapist and informed loving parents will make a difference.

    Penny RayasMFT

  • Michelle


    April 26th, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    I like the point of Don’s behavior. There is no perfect child and no ideal. You have the child you have and find ways for him or her to be a success.

  • martina


    April 26th, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    it is good to see that ADHD is not being blamed for pooracademic performance in general…Orwell could have soon had people dumb enough to scream out for special schools for kids with ADHD…Every decision and new system we choose has to have scientific backing and it is nice to see that we are looking at just that…!

  • Sammi


    April 27th, 2011 at 4:40 AM

    Teachers can’t do this alone and neither can parents. And at a certain point the kids have to become a part of the process for success too. It can’t all be blamed on one thing or the other. We have to take a look at the big picture- what genetic things could have led to this? What is the school environment like? What is the home environment like? What are the chances of everyone working together to help this child navigate the difficulties of school? I think that when you combine all of those things together it is then that you will begin to have some of the answers and solutions that you are looking for.



    April 27th, 2011 at 11:30 PM

    ADHD,or any other disorder for that mater,may act differently in different individuals and the subsequent effects may be a little different too.So it would be wrong to blame everything on a particular disorder as it can be a result of a lot of other things and factors that come into play.

  • runninfast


    April 28th, 2011 at 4:48 AM

    Many parents of children like this may shut down and think that they have no idea how to deal with this. Are there some resources that are strictly for the parents that can help them to better know how to encourage these childredn to be a success?

  • Abe


    May 3rd, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    @Karie That has a huge factor! I’ve had some teachers who simply did not care about their students, and they wondered why their students never showed up for the classes and ones that did were disruptive. A lack of enthusiasm on their part transfers to the children.

  • Suzie


    May 5th, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    @Don – “Parents must adapt to the child they have and teach him/her mechanisms that help controlling the impulses.” Exactly, parenting plays a significant part in how kids turn out. There’s a limit to what good parenting can do, but there is also a limit to what genetics and disorders can do. We play the hand we are dealt best we can.

  • nikki


    May 5th, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    @Don—Parents that actually have spines and properly discipline their kids instead of making excuses can tell you that behavior problems can be solved by nurturing and caring for them properly. Like you said, they have to adapt to the kids.

  • Patrick


    May 7th, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Those parents are seriously misguided if they think good parenting techniques can resolve every behavioral problem. Children can have mental issues the same as adults and no amount of good parenting is a 100% guarantee for positive change! There’s a time when you have to call in the medical professionals and follow their advice to enable change to happen, be it medication, therapy, dietary adjustments or whatever.

  • Hayden


    May 7th, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    @Suthers: The only thing genetics changes as far as I’m concerned is your looks. Everything else? It can be overcome most of the time. Especially your personality.

  • Annabelle


    May 8th, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    @Penny- Yes! What is needed to get a child with problems through life are knowledgeable parents, and qualified teachers. Of course, parents are too quick to turn to medication, and the teachers in this country are far from qualified to properly handle special needs children.

  • Deirdre


    May 8th, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    Really, Annabelle? You think special ed teachers are just pulled off the street and thrown in a classroom, do you? Don’t be ignorant please. You’ve obviously had a bad experience with one and now tar the whole profession with the same brush. That’s grossly unfair. I find special ed teachers to be the most caring and compassionate of all. Those same teachers can help parents become knowledgeable parents but you know what? Some just aren’t that interested in doing so and so the teacher runs into a brick wall.

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