Objective: To evaluate whether children with borderline disorder (also referred to as multiple complex developmental disorder) (BD/MCDD) and comorbid attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) demonstrate evidence of abnormal attention and/or auditory processing impairments as indexed by both behavioral and physiological measures.
Method: Three groups of children were compared in two different experiments on behavioral rating scales (Conners Parent Rating Scale and Child Behavior Checklist), behavioral accuracy to auditory and visual target detection tasks, selected neuropsychological tests, and brain physiology (event-related potentials) collected during auditory and visual target detection tasks.
Results: The results demonstrate that children with BD/MCDD differ from children with ADHD in the (1) prevalence of internalizing and externalizing behaviors, (2) neuropsychological deficits related to auditory processing, and (3) event-related potential brain physiology associated with auditory cognitive target attention tasks.
Conclusion: Some of the pervasive pathology described in children with BD/MCDD may be due to biological vulnerabilities, particularly problems with auditory processing. Auditory processing impairments in such children deserves special attention with respect to both understanding their behavioral symptoms and developing a comprehensive treatment plan.