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Faculty Mentor

Professor Heide Island

Subject Area

Psychology

Abstract

Dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are two distinct conditions belonging to the same class of frequently and comorbidly diagnosed childhood and adolescent developmental disorders. Further complicating treatment and diagnoses is convergence insufficiency, a visual disorder, with symptoms that can appear similar to dyslexia’s diagnostic criteria. ADHD and dyslexia have a worldwide prevalence of 5-12% each among the school-age population and 4-10% of young adults. As many as 1 million U.S. ADHD diagnoses are situational with undocumented, pre-existing conditions (e.g., convergence insufficiency, dyslexia). Convergence insufficiency, characterized by an inability to converge the eyes smoothly as a focal object moves from distance to near, affects 2-8% of the worldwide population. Given the number of people worldwide who may be diagnosed, misdiagnosed, or undiagnosed by these three disorders, it is of value to explore the intersectionality of these conditions among college-aged students. This project investigated the relationship between self-reported scores on a standard ADHD measure, as well as ADHD diagnoses, dyslexia, and convergence insufficiency using optometric and neuropsychological assessments. We found ADHD diagnosis and its self-reported symptoms were significantly correlated with total scores on the Adult Reading History Questionnaire, dyslexia diagnoses, and the Convergence Insufficiency Symptom Survey. All three self-report assessments and near visual acuity significantly correlated; indicating that as visual acuity improves, total assessment scores decrease. These combined results highlight a distinct and important relationship between vision, attention, and reading and support a more holistic assessment in the identification, diagnosis, intervention, and treatment of cognitive problems pertaining to reading and learning.

Keywords

attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, convergence insufficiency, attention, vision, reading

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