An important study was recently published in April, 2015 edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. This study followed 11,640 kids in England from age 7 to age 16; the researchers focused on adolescent correlates of attention symptoms in childhood. These are some of their primary findings
• For boys there was a 2-3 point reduction on a measure of academic achievement at age 16 for every point of symptom expression for inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity and oppositional/defiance at age 7.
• There was a similar finding for girls but a difference was that symptoms of oppositional/defiance in childhood were not as associated with academic problems in adolescence.
• There was a 6 to 7% increased chance of not having a quality outcome for academic achievement for each point of inattention symptoms.
• This is a quote regarding the primary conclusion that the authors reached: “Across the full range of scores at a population level, each 1-point increase in inattention at age 7 years is associated with worse academic outcomes at age 16. The findings highlight long-term academic risk associated with ADHD, particularly inattentive symptoms. After adjusting for inattention and ADHD respectively, oppositional/defiant behaviors and DBDs are also independently associated with worse academic outcomes.”
The primary recommendation I would offer based on this study, and other research of it’s kind, is to treat mental health symptoms in your child as you would dental health symptoms: if your child is symptomatic get it checked out. Well designed and implemented treatments, that follow equally well designed and implemented evaluations, can often make such symptomatic kids indistinguishable from their peers. Using the search bar above you can find related articles on AD/HD, defiance and consumer guidelines regarding mental health services (e.g., enter the term “mental health”).