Does ADHD medication alone improve academic performance?

In an article published by The Wall Street Journal, we came across some interesting findings from a research study examining the impact of ADHD medication-only treatment on academic performance.

The study looked at the academic performance of a large sample of 11-year-old students, and compared those students who were taking medication for ADHD vs. those who had similar symptoms, but were not taking medication. Interestingly, the study showed little evidence that medication alone actually improved academic outcomes. In fact, the findings suggest that in the long run, there are few (if any) differences in academic performance in children with ADHD who take medication compared to those who don’t.

This finding is particularly interesting since stimulants “have been shown in a number of studies to improve attention, concentration and even certain types of memory in the short-term”. So why isn’t this translating into better school performance?

Essentially, the article outlines exactly what Springboard has always believed to be true: “…medicine may help with focus, but it doesn’t help with deciding what to focus on…rather, it needs to be coupled with skills training, such as learning how to organize or prioritize.”
This is where coaching comes into the picture – medication may help with immediate classroom behaviours, but in the long run, if you’re not focusing on building skills, you’ll only get so far. Click here for article

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