Comorbidity between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and reading disabilities: Implications for assessment and treatment

Assessment and Intervention

ISBN: 978-0-85724-829-9, eISBN: 978-0-85724-830-5

ISSN: 0735-004X

Publication date: 1 April 2011


Comorbidity of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and reading disabilities (RD) is greater than what would occur by chance. Considering the well-documented adverse impact of both ADHD and RD on development, the presence of both conditions may lead to particularly poor outcomes for affected people. This chapter, which reviews 43 research studies carried out in the last decade that have focused on the link between ADHD and RD, is divided into two broad nuclei of contents. First, studies are described that contribute information about characteristics of the comorbid phenotype. Second, studies related to procedures directed toward evaluation and intervention in this problem are analyzed. The review carried out does not make it possible to extract definitive results on the exact nature of ADHD and RD comorbidity or, even less, reach conclusions about its causes. However, the literature-based evidence shows a cognitive profile of ADHD+RD characterized by failure of various functions that can produce more severe functional deficits and worse neuropsychological, academic, and behavioral outcomes. Furthermore, the analysis of the set of results from the studies shows a limited efficacy of pharmacological and psychopedagogical treatments, and highlights the need for continued research on this topic. From a clinical and educational standpoint, the conclusions derived from this review underline the importance of performing an exhaustive evaluation of children and adolescents with symptoms of ADHD and/or RD, in order to be able to plan interventions with greater possibilities of success in each case.


Miranda, A., Jesús Presentación, M., Siegenthaler, R., Colomer, C. and Pinto, V. (2011), "Comorbidity between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and reading disabilities: Implications for assessment and treatment", Scruggs, T.E. and Mastropieri, M.A. (Ed.) Assessment and Intervention (Advances in Learning and Behavioral Disabilities, Vol. 24), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 171-211.

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