Language deficit with attention-deficit disorder: a prevalent comorbidity

J Child Neurol. 1998 Oct;13(10):493-7. doi: 10.1177/088307389801301005.


The aim of this study was to delineate the prevalence and behavioral patterns of children with attention-deficit and language problems as compared to children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) only. Out of a cohort of 3208 children 6 to 11 years old, 5.2% were identified as having a primary ADHD. A teacher's behavioral questionnaire, pediatric interview and assessment, IQ, attention tests, and language evaluation were employed. A 45% rate of language problems was identified. This comorbidity is more prevalent among girls (P = .02). Sequencing and short-term memory were significantly related to attention-deficit and language problems, but the attention scores were not. Language performance was the best predictor of group assignment and was superior to IQ in that regard. Correlation analysis revealed a different behavioral pattern for the two groups. It appears that a significant proportion of children with ADHD have a language comorbidity not reflected by IQ assessments; therefore, language tests should be considered as part of their routine assessment. Children with attention-deficit and language problems appear to have a different neurocognitive pattern underlying their problems as compared with their peers with ADHD only.

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Language Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Language Disorders / physiopathology
  • Language Disorders / psychology
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Prevalence