The Development of the Child
In Chapter 2 on the characteristics of the ADHD child, I discussed the problems a child with ADHD encounters, and how these change as he grows. I also mentioned that the sequence of problems is not inevitable, and that may cause ADHD children to grow out of their problems as they become older. An obvious and reasonable question that parents might ask is what the fate of their ADHD child will be. Ten years ago we did not know. As I will explain, this question is now easier to answer.
Because of new clinical data, we are obtaining a picture of the changes in the condition over time. The information comes from two sources. The first consists of studies of ADHD children who were followed from childhood into adolescence. We are beginning to obtain information about the adult outcome of ADHD children from a second source--two scientific studies, started about fifteen years ago, that systematically followed and compared a group of ADHD children with a group of non-ADHD children and evaluated them into their mid-twenties. These two studies, one conducted in New York City and the other in Montreal, are described later in this chapter.
Physicians who have treated "hyperactive" children over a period of years have repeatedly noted that in some of the children the problems tend to change, become less severe,