Visual attention and ADHD

ADHD affects 5% of children and is characterized by impulsiveness, hyperactivity and inattention. ADHD is also associated with abnormalities in the pre frontal cortex, cerebellum and basal ganglia. These areas are all involved in sensorimotor control.

The question researchers recently had: is ADHD somehow associated with specific physical traits, such as poor stability and eye movement?

We already knew, prior to this study (, that children with ADHD would not report so well on anti-saccades, which involve the pre frontal cortex.

Here, 28 children with ADHD were studied. There was a control group of 14 age-matched children. All children had normal values for both ophthalmologic and orthopaedic examination.

Four visuals tasks were designed and performed in separate sessions: fixation, pro and anti-saccades as well as pursuits.

Stability was measured using force plate and, during postural recording, eye movements were recorded binocularly.

Here is what was found:

  • During the postural task, the quality of fixation is significantly worse in children with ADHD versus the control children.
  • There was a difference observed between ADHD and control children in the quality of fixation during a dual task.
  • Children with ADHD made significantly more saccades during the fixation task than control group children.
  • Postural stability is worse in children with ADHD than in control children.

The researchers are quick to point to a functional deficiency of the cerebellum in order to explain the findings. It’s hard to think the cerebellum would not be a part of the issue. It’s also hard to think that other senses than proprioception would not be involved in the process of stabilizing the body against gravity, for one.

As well, when one considers that we gain oculomotor control as we develop motricity more globally, it seems that an approach such as the combination of Posturology and Functional Neurology seems indicated to improve outcomes.


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