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Research Findings

Without doubt the most important "new" developments pertaining to ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) has been the now-widespread recognition that this is a condition which does not somehow go away at the end of childhood or adolescence. In more than half of the diagnosed childhood cases, significant symptoms continue into adult life and may be as severe at age 45 as they once were at age 5 or 10. It is evident the classical "hyperactivity" seen in most ADHD children is less and less prominent as they age, but severe impulsivity and inattentiveness not only often continues in force, but in many adults gets worse and even more impairing. This finding can have great impact in the work place for undiagnosed or untreated adults with ADHD.

Another important advance in our understanding of ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is recognition of the familial nature of the condition. While only 10 years ago there were few studies of the genetics of ADHD, there are now hundreds, and the Human Genome Project is actively pursuing the identification of genes which govern development of this condition, and when one carefully looks at cousins, aunts, uncles and other extended family ADHD is far more prevalent than in the general population.

A further advance, during the past few years, is the growing recognition that ADHD, Tourette Syndrome (TS), and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are evidently, to some extent, genetically linked. In the course of evaluation of an ADHD child, it is common, for example, to find an OCD older sibling, and uncle with TS, a parent with OCD/TS, and a grandmother with ADHD/OCD. When the clinician then carefully evaluates cousins, a sprinkling of these related conditions is often quickly identified.

As a foster parent, you may be asked to interact with the biological parents of a child you are fostering. It may be helpful to keep in mind that this parent may also have behavioral characteristics of ADHD. For example, they may impulsively say things without thinking, forget scheduled meetings, or may seem distracted during meetings. To be helpful, case managers should give a written reminder of the scheduled meetings, as well as a follow-up phone call as a reminder for the best chance of meetings being held as scheduled.

For additional information about Directions for ADHD Research, see 

ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) Association's .

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