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GSE Alum Stephen M. Lange, Ph.D., Discovers Relationship Between ADHD and Comorbid Developmental Coordination Disorder

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Fordham GSE school psychology graduate and former Adjunct Assistant Professor Stephen Lange, Ph.D., has revealed a strong correlation between developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The results of his work have been published in the 2018 Contemporary School Psychology article, “ADHD and comorbid developmental coordination disorder: Implications and recommendations for school psychologists”, 22(1), 30-39. He currently serves as President and Principal Executive Officer at Psychologia, Inc., in Lawton, Oklahoma.

DCD results in functional impairment in activities of daily living, including eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring (being able to get in and out of bed or a chair without assistance), and maintaining continence – all of which limits children’s physical activities with peers. Lange notes that children with DCD report fewer friendships, experience more bullying, and feel less confident in their ability to participate in peer activities. DCD is also frequently associated with depressive and anxiety disorders and is a risk factor for obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes mellitus.

Because the developmental outcomes of DCD persist through adolescence and into adulthood, Lange recommends that school psychologists incorporate screening for DCD when evaluating students with ADHD diagnoses or those suspected of having ADHD. His article reviews underlying brain-behavior relationships between ADHD and DCD, describes developmental trajectories associated with DCD, and details specific recommended screening and assessment strategies.

Lange also anticipates publication of an additional article in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, which will examine the question, “Based on current evidence, should mental health clinicians screen children for substance use and substance use disorder”?

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