Effects of methylphenidate and physiotherapeutic treatment on graphomotor movements in children with ADHD

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


In addition to the core symptoms defining ADHD, affected children often experience motor problems; in particular, graphomotor movements including handwriting are affected. However, in clinical settings, there is little emphasis on standardized and objective diagnosing and treatment of those difficulties. The present study investigated for the first time the effects of methylphenidate as well as physiotherapeutic treatment on objectively assessed graphomotor movements compared to a control condition, i.e. parental psychoeducation, in 58 children (mean age: 9.52 ± 1.91 years) newly diagnosed with ADHD in an outpatient clinic for child and adolescent psychiatry. Families were invited to join one of the treatment groups. Before and after 8 weeks of treatment, children performed six different tasks on a digitizing tablet which allowed the objective analysis of three important kinematic parameters of graphomotor movements (fluency, velocity, and pen pressure) in different levels of visual control and automation. Graphomotor movement fluency and velocity improves over time across the groups, especially in tasks with eyes closed. We did not find clear evidence for beneficial effects of methylphenidate or physiotherapeutic treatment on children’s overall graphomotor movements suggesting that treatments need to be better tailored towards specific and individual deficits in graphomotor movements.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-137
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean child & adolescent psychiatry
Issue number1
Early online date23 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

External IDs

unpaywall 10.1007/s00787-023-02144-5
Scopus 85146652247
ORCID /0000-0002-1753-7811/work/142248155
ORCID /0000-0002-2989-9561/work/146788747
PubMed 36688969
Mendeley 0d0a9622-1cd7-3922-aa68-d03172398e62


Sustainable Development Goals


  • Developmental coordination disorder, Digitizing tablet, Handwriting, Motor problems, Biomechanical Phenomena, Humans, Adolescent, Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity/drug therapy, Child, Methylphenidate/therapeutic use