has been found that many adopted children suffer from Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. This article explains the link between ADHD in
adopted children and their birth mothers, as well as why adoptive parents are
often quick to recognise behavioural disorders.
Adopted children are more
likely to suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
It has been shown that ADHD, Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is more prevalent among adoptive children than
it is in the general population. In 2001
Simmel, Brooks, Barth and Hinshaw conducted a study examining 808 adopted children
aged between 4 and 18 years old, and found of these, 21% of the children had
ADHD compared to 3 - 5% in the general population. But what is the reason for this?
adopted children have mothers with ADHD
Approximately 40% of children with ADHD
have one parent with the same condition, demonstrating that there is a strong
biological factor involved in developing ADHD behaviours. It is suggested that a mother with ADHD may
be more likely to act impulsively and therefore has a higher chance of having
an unplanned pregnancy.
During pregnancy, an ADHD mother is
more likely to have an unstable prenatal environment and be involved in
impulsive behaviours such as smoking and drug use, which will further increase
the chances of the child having ADHD as these are further risk factors. As a result of impulsive behaviour, the
mother may be unable to care for the child and consequently is put up for
adoption. One possible reason for ADHD
rates being higher among adopted children is that this population of
individuals are more likely to be exposed to more prenatal risk factors in ADHD
mothers and inherit impulsive behaviour.
parents are aware of behavioural disorders
A further reason is due to the nature
of adoptive parents. Evidence shows that
adoptive parents tend to be wealthier, more financially stable, well educated,
middle class families. As a result,
adoptive parents are likely to be aware of potential child difficulties and
would investigate this further through evaluation and treatment. This may be
why it is not just ADHD that is more prevalent in adopted individuals but also
other neurodevelopmental conditions.
Behavioural disorders, particularly Oppositional Defiant Disorder, has
been found to be twice as likely among adopted teenagers compared to those who
are not adopted.
About The Learning Assessment and Neurocare Centre
The Learning Assessment and Neurocare Centre was
established in 1993. Over the past 17 years the centre has seen more than
6000 people with these conditions, sees up to 240 new patients annually from
all over the country and overseas, and has about 1600 patients on its active
long-term clinical management list. The centre has developed a local and
also a national reputation for being able to assess children,
adolescents, and adults with suspected neurodevelopmental
difficulties in an experienced and comprehensive way. Whilst it
sees people with the more straightforward problems, it also has a great deal of
expertise in the assessment and management of people with complex difficulties.