ADHD and Writing Performance

If you work with students who have ADHD, you have probably observed them struggling with writing tasks. It could be handwriting, computer use actual writing composition performance. A study was conducted on ADHD and writing performance.

Methodology of the Study

The participants included students in grades 3 to 7, 84 with ADHD and 135 age- and gender-matched controls in order to determine the relationship between ADHD and writing performance. Each student completed a written task (including process logs), and measures of working memory and attention. 

Results of the Study on ADHD and Writing Performance

Following data analysis, the researchers determined the following:

  • Students with ADHD wrote texts of similar length but with poorer structure, coherence, and ideation.
  • Overall, 6.7% of the variety in writing quality was explained by whether or not the student had an ADHD diagnosis, after controlling for IQ and age.
  • ADHD students produced written text that was less coherent, less well structured, and less ideationally rich.
  • ADHD students spent less time thinking about and reviewing their text.
  • Half of the effect on text quality could be attributed to working memory and sustained attention effects. 

The researchers concluded that ADHD has some effect on written text, which can partially be related to working memory and attentional deficits.

Reference: Rodríguez, C., Torrance, M., Betts, L., Cerezo, R., & García, T. (2017). Effects of ADHD on writing composition product and process in school-age students. Journal of Attention Disorders, 1087054717707048.

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Working memory is a part of short-term memory that allows us to hold and use information in our minds for brief periods of time.  It is used when a student needs to think and remember at the same time.  You can get a working memory practice exercise for your students below. Dr. Erica Warren, a learning specialist, and educational therapist created the Working Memory, Hemisphere Integration and Attention Building Bundle which includes 2 digital downloads that offer cognitive remedial tools to strengthen working memory, attentional skills, mental flexibility, and processing speed.

Working Memory Practice Exercise Free Download

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The Working Memory, Hemisphere Integration and Attention Building Bundle includes fun NO PREP activities have been created by Dr. Erica Warren, a learning specialist, and educational therapist.