Cathleen Rui Lin Lau, Guo Hui Xie


This is a case study of a male child, EE, aged 8+ years, who was described as rather disruptive in class during lesson. For past years, his parents, preschool and primary school teachers noted his challenging behavior and also complained that the child showed a strong dislike for mathematics and Chinese language – both are examinable academic subjects. As a result of the disturbing condition, EE was referred to an educational therapist at a private intervention center for a diagnostic assessment. The child was identified with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)-Combined subtype. This aim of this paper is to discuss about the effects of ADHD on mathematics learning and how to avoid misdiagnosis or over-diagnosis of a behavioral-cum-learning disorder.


Article visualizations:

Hit counter



attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, dyscalculia, mathematics learning difficulty

Full Text:



Aiken, L.R. (1972). Research on attitudes toward mathematics. Arithmetic Teacher, 19, 229-234.

American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5®). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Anastopulos, A.D., Spisto, M.A., & Maher, M.C. (1994). The WISC-III freedom from distractibility factor: Its utility in identifying children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Psychological Assessment, 6(4), 368-371.

Brown, V.L., Cronin, M.E., & McEntire, E. (1994). Test of Mathematical Abilities (2nd ed.): Examiner’s manual. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Brown, V.L., & McEntire, E. (1984). Test of Mathematical Abilities (TOMA): A method for assessing mathematical aptitudes and attitudes. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Brummitt-Yale, J. (2017). What is diagnostic assessment? - Definition & examples. Retrieved on 15 February, 2020, from: https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-diagnostic-assessment-definition-examples.html.

Chia, K.H. (2008). Educating the whole child in a child with special needs: What we know and understand and what we can do. ASCD Review, 14, 25-31.

Chia, K.H. (2012). Psychogogy. Singapore: Pearson Education.

Code, W., Merchant, S., Maciejewski, W., Thomas, M., & Lo, J. (2016). The Mathematics Attitudes and Perceptions Survey: An instrument to assess expert-like views and dispositions among undergraduate mathematics students. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology (21 pages). Retrieved on 14 February, 2020, from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0020739X.2015.1133854.

Cooijmans, P. (n.d.). IQ and real-life functioning. Retrieved 15 February, 2020, from: https://paulcooijmans.com/intelligence/iq_ranges.html.

DB.net (2018) Difference between ability and skill. Retrieved on 29 December, 2019, from: http://www.differencebetween.net/language/difference-between-ability-and-skill/#ixzz5WS3m4ldH.

Dunn, W. (1999). Sensory Profile. San Antonio, CA: The Psychological Corporation.

DuPaul, G.J., Power, T.J., Anastopoulos, A.D., & Reid, R. (1998). ADHD Rating Scale IV: Checklists, norms, and clinical interpretation. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Flanagan, D.P., & McGrew, K.S. (1997). A cross-battery approach to assessing and interpreting cognitive abilities: Narrowing the gap between practice and cognitive science. In D.P. Flanagan, J. Genshaft, and P.L. Harrison (Eds.), Contemporary intellectual assessment: theories, tests, and issues (Chapter 8). New York, NY: Guilford press.

Flanagan, D.P., Ortiz, S.O., & Alfonso, V.C. (2007). Use of the cross-battery approach in the assessment of diverse individuals. In A.S. Kaufman and N.L. Kaufman (Series Eds.), Essentials of cross-battery assessment second edition (pp.146-205). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Gilliam, J.E. (2006). Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (2nd Edition). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Harrier, L.K., & DeOrnellas, K. (2005). Performance of children diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder on selected planning and reconstitution tests. Applied Neuropsychology, 12 (2), 106-119.

Julita (2011) Difference Between ability and skill. DifferenceBetween.net. Retrieved on 23 December, 2019, from: http://www.differencebetween.net/language/difference-between-ability-and-skill/.

Kaufman, A.S. (1994). Intelligence testing with the WISC-III. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Kennedy, D. (2019). The ADHD symptoms that complicate and exacerbate a math learning disability. Retrieved on 28 December, 2019, from: https://www.additudemag.com/math-learning-disabilities-dyscalculia-adhd/?utm_source=eletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=treatment_january_2020&utm_content=010220&goal=0_d9446392d6-793865f9f5-297687009.

Kulm, G. (1980). Research on mathematics attitude. In J. Shumway (Ed.), Research in mathematics education (pp.356-387). Reston, VA: The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Inc.

Low, K. (2016). The challenges of building math skills with ADHD. Retrieved on 12 February, 2020, from: https://www.verywellmind.com/adhd-and-math-skills-20804.

Newman, R.M. (1998). Gifted and math learning disabled. Retrieved on 16 December, 2019, from: http://www.dyscalculia.org/EDu561.html.

Newman, R.M. (1999). The dyscalculia syndrome. Retrieved on 16 December, 2019, from: http://www.dyscalculia.org/thesis.html.

Pearson, N.A., Patton, J.R., & Mruzek, D.W. (2006). Adaptive Behavior Diagnostic Scale. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Renfrew, C. (2019). Renfrew Language Scales (5th Ed.). London, UK: Routledge (Taylor & Francis).

Riccio, C.A., Cohen, M.J., Hall, J., & Ross, C.M. (1997). The third and fourth factors of the WISC-III: What they don’t measure. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 15, 27-39.

Rosenfeld, C. (2019). ADHD and math: 3 struggles for students with ADHD (and how to help). Retrieved 14 December, 2019, from: https://www.ectutoring.com/adhd-and-math.

Sandhu, I.K. (2019). The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fourth Edition (WISC–IV). Retrieved on 19 December, 2019, from: http://www.brainy-child.com/expert/WISC_IV.shtml.

Sattler, J.M. (1982). Assessment of children's intelligence and special abilities (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Watkins, M.W., Kush, J.C., & Glutting, J.J. (1997). Discriminant and predictive validity of the WISC-III ACID profile among children with learning disabilities. Psychology in the Schools, 34, 309-319.

Wechsler, D. (2003). The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (4th ed.): Examiner’s manual, San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.

Copyright © 2015. European Journal of Special Education Research (ISSN 2501 - 2428) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing GroupAll rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms.

All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).