We determined the incidence of written-language disorder (WLD) among children with and without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a population-based birth cohort.
Subjects included a birth cohort of all children born in 1976–1982 who remained in Rochester, Minnesota, after 5 years of age (N = 5718). Information from medical, school, and private tutorial records was abstracted. Cumulative incidences of WLD with or without reading disability (RD), identified with any of 3 formulas, among children with and without ADHD and hazard ratios (HRs) were calculated.
For both genders, the cumulative incidence of WLD by 19 years of age was significantly higher for children with ADHD than for children without ADHD (boys: 64.5% vs 16.5%; girls: 57.0% vs 9.4%). The magnitude of association between ADHD and WLD with RD was significantly higher for girls than for boys (adjusted HR: girls: 9.8; boys: 4.2; P < .001). However, this was not true for WLD without RD (adjusted HR: girls: 7.4; boys: 6.6; P = .64).
ADHD is strongly associated with an increased risk of WLD (with or without RD) for both boys and girls. Girls with ADHD are at higher risk of having WLD with RD compared with boys with ADHD, whereas boys and girls are at the same risk of having WLD without RD.