Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often show spatial attentional deficits, exhibiting a subtle rightwards bias, possibly due to dysfunction within the right hemisphere fronto-parietal network. Approximately 50% of children with ADHD also show signs of movement dysfunction. The nature of this movement dysfunction and possible interactions with spatial attention difficulties has not been clearly described. This study compared 31 children with and 31 children without ADHD on a movement kinematic task that tested hand-drawing movement precision. Participants used an electronic pen on a digitizing tablet. The pen tip position was sampled as X and Y coordinates at 200Hz. The task was to join targets of either 10 or 20mm diameter that were separated by a distance of 62.5 or 125 mm. Constant error in the X and Y planes, peak absolute velocity and acceleration, movement time, the number of pauses and pause time were analysed. Apart from a significantly increased rate of acceleration across all conditions, the children with ADHD demonstrated no temporal difficulties with the task; rather they showed subtle spatial difficulties, possibly suggestive of cerebellar involvement. The children with ADHD showed difficulties in accuracy of movement towards the right. They were less accurate in the X plane when moving towards the right-sided targets over the long distance. Greater variability in target accuracy was shown when moving towards the small target on the right side. The children with ADHD made significantly more pauses on the left target, when preparing the right movement, than the control group. These results suggest that the subtle spatial bias towards the right that has been demonstrated in ADHD in spatial attention also extends into the continuous movement domain.
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