ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Reaction time in ADHD

Reaction time is neuropsychological construct that is inextricably linked to ADHD.

Most children with ADHD that we screen at the Dyslexia Association of India™ have very poor word reading capabilities. They also show reduced reading fluency and comprehension of what they read.

Your child who may have undiagnosed ADHD may be silently suffering from impairment in his ability to process the text he is trying to read and unless we have an exact measure of his ‘processing index’, we will never know how to help him overcome his academic hurdles.

We have screened children at the Dyslexia Association of India™, who have such a variable standard deviation on their reaction time that the fluency with which they read text and comprehend text is virtually contextual - and there is no breakup of the words being read. So if we think about it as a positive emotional stimuli, which activates higher cortical regions of the brain which are prone to excitability in the face of a stimulus - which is positively related to a functional disturbance, and then combined with a speeded reaction time, the ADHD child has in all probability read through the entire text without understanding a word of what he has read, as there is no decoding taking place.

If we think about ADHD as the presence of a developmentally inappropriate set off impairments affecting impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattentiveness we can also appreciate that approximately 40% to 60% children in India on our equivocal view (the United States conforms 40%) have a reading disability that is affected by ADHD.

Why do we mention the comorbidity of the two together?

The reason is that with heightened reaction times, a child with ADHD will ‘run across’ the text to be read and demonstrate inaccurate decoding and word recognition and reading.

For the child to be able to read accurately means, to be able to plan, inhibit the ‘passive’ response activation signal, control his impulse to shift set and then use his word reading ability to comprehend the material being read.

The Dyslexia Association of India™ believes in its personal view that children with ADHD have related deficits in Neuropsychological functioning and this aspect greatly holds them back.

In our opinion it is inhibition, and the inability of the child with ADHD to process the inhibitory impulse - which slows his speed that is associated with academic problems where he is concerned.

The tests at the Dyslexia Association of India™ are able to capture this data and ability of a child with a very high degree of accuracy and we can measure the child's ability to search quickly for response to specific target words in a paragraph or chapter. This in turn allows us to advise the parents regarding the deficit of attention and/or cognitive processing are slowing down the student.

We can also pinpoint the area of non-optimal activation stages and once we know why and where an ADHD child is demonstrating his non-optimal state to suppress irrelevant stimuli we can work to remediate and assist him to learn how to retrieve the relevant responses to build a coherent representation of the meaning of academic text.

ADHD causes decreased efficiency in the allocation of limited attentional resources in the face of demands for effortful cognitive control. With impairment in their reaction time variability - a ADHD child will suffer substantially more than a normal learning disabled child because the aetiology of reading difficulties with a comorbid ADHD problem probably relates to a pattern of differential relationships between various neuropsychological functions and specific competencies of reading.

There is a difference between reading comprehension and reading text fluently.

Fluent reading for an ADHD child can occur but with a higher degree of trial to trial - variability in the same text and in between two different texts. The ADHD child response variability may possibly lead to faulty response perception and faster decomposition of text in the brain.

To know more how we can help your child who may be displaying symptoms of ADHD, please call us at +91 8826022886 or email us at

(Views and observations expressed in our articles are equivocal and personal based on our observations and experience of contributing authors. Being equivocal and personal they are non contestable under any circumstances and conditions and Individuals are under no pressure to confirm to our views, thoughts and observations. The accuracy ratio for screening and remedial processes of the DAI™ is extremely high.)