A study recently published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry reported that mixed handed children have a greater likelihood of having language, academic, and psychiatric problems such as symptoms of inattentive type ADHD. The data came from longitudinal study of nearly 8000 children in Finland followed since birth in 1986. The researchers note that the findings do not address the issue of the exact connection between atypical brain symmetry (found among mixed handed individuals) and symptoms such as ADHD.
Prior research has identified another group of school aged children who manifest depressive symptoms, hyperactivity, attention deficits, impulsivity and a fall in self-esteem which then have a negative impact on school work: gifted children. A study published November 2009 in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, which examined the link between depression and low academic self-esteem among gifted school aged children, found that lower general self-esteem, academic self-esteem and total self-esteem was associated with higher depression and hyperactivity.
Finally, 2007 research from the economics department at University of Texas (Austin) published in the journal L'Encephale examined factors contributing to the diagnosis of ADHD among school aged children across the U.S. The data from a longitudinal study of over 9000 children across the followed since 2002 found some interesting factors associated with increased ADHD diagnosis. Among the findings: girls, black children, Hispanic children, and children having a white teacher were less likely to have an ADHD diagnosis; children with an older teacher or attending a schools with strict state-level performance accountability laws were more likely to have an ADHD diagnosis.
The bottom line is that an evaluation for symptoms of ADHD in a child must be holistic and must consider a multitude of factors which may be associated with the inattention and under-achievement. More than just the diagnosis, consideration of these other factors dictates the treatment plan. If being different due to atypical brain symmetry is a major factor, teaching of coping skills and maximizing of positive attributes associated with mixed handedness (such as creativity) would be emphasized. If giftedness has led to low self-esteem, depression, and ADHD symptoms, then therapy to address the emotional immaturity and a sense of being different may need to be part of the solution. Awareness, education and advocacy are always important.