Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder affects the motor skills of boys more than girls, according to a report published in the Nov. 4, issue of Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore studied 184 boys and 84 girls ages 7 to 15, dividing them into a group of 136 typically developing children and 132 children with ADHD.
The study tested children’s speed, ability to keep rhythm, and their number of extraneous movements while completing simple motor tasks, such as finger-tapping and walking on their toes. It also tested 225 of the children for inhibitory control, or the ability to override automatic responses.
The study found that the motor skills of typically developing children steadily improved with age, though boys with ADHD continued to show motor-skills deficits through adolescence. The motor skills of girls with ADHD improved at a rate more similar to that of their typically developing peers.
E. Mark Mahone, the lead study author and a research scientist at the institute, suggested the changes may be occurring because the female brain matures earlier than the male brain.
A version of this article appeared in the November 19, 2008 edition of Education Week