Handwriting, Working Memory, and ADHD

Handwriting, Working Memory, and ADHDHandwriting, Working Memory, and ADHD

Handwriting is an important skill for written expression in school and at work.  Many times children with ADHD may display difficulties with legibility and speed of handwriting during school activities.  Recent research examined handwriting, working memory, and ADHD in 16 fourth and fifth-grade children compared to age-matched control children.  Each participant was evaluated for handwriting performance in a simple condition and under verbal or spatial working memory load.

The results of the study on handwriting, working memory, and ADHD indicated the following:

  • there was a significant difference between the ADHD and control group for handwriting speed only in the verbal working memory loading condition
  • children with symptoms of ADHD wrote more slowly and showed a greater intra-individual variability than controls.
  • handwriting legibility was affected by verbal WM loading too.

The researchers concluded that working memory load influences handwriting skills in children with ADHD (Capodieci, A et. al., 2018).

Read more about handwriting and ADHD:

Movement Scaling, Handwriting, and ADHD

ADHD, Medication, and Handwriting

ADHD and Handwriting

Dysgraphia, ADHD, and Autism

Previous research indicates that exercising twice per week or more was associated with higher working memory scores and lower inattentiveness scores at baseline when compared with exercising only once per week or less (López-Vicente, M. et. al., 2016).  An interesting hypothesis to test would be: If a student exercises 2 times per week (associated with higher working memory), then handwriting speed and/or legibility will improve in children with ADHD.

Do you need students to practice working memory skills along with handwriting?  Check out the Working Memory Exercises packet.

Working Memory Exercises

Working Memory Exercises includes the materials to create 20 memory challenges (the 10 Level 1 exercises are in categories and the 10 Level 2 exercises are not categorized) recording sheets for each category in double lined (Handwriting without Tears® style), dotted lined (Zaner-Bloser® style) or regular lined paper and answer sheets.  In addition, both levels come with additional visual cues if the exercises are too difficult.  This download is great for classroom use, therapy sessions or to send home with a student. These activities are reproducible to print to use over and over again with all the children that you teach.
Working Memory Exercises encourage:

  • visual memory skills
  • working memory skills
  • handwriting practice
  • executive function skills

Get a FREE sample Working Memory Exercise from Level 1 Packet


Capodieci, A., Lachina, S., & Cornoldi, C. (2018). Handwriting difficulties in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Research in developmental disabilities74, 41-49.

López-Vicente, M. et. al. (2016). Physical Activity and Cognitive Trajectories in Schoolchildren. Pediatric exercise science, 28(3), 431-438.

Handwriting, Working Memory, and ADHD