Slow processing speed or low working memory?

Posted on Actualizado enn

Reading and ADHD

Slow processing speed or low working memory?

The low reading comprehension and ADHD are two causes of school failure. Although low reading comprehension is common among students, it is especially a problem when it is associated with ADHD. Children with ADHD often have problems in processing speed and working memory. In fact, today we are studying the possibility of a variant of ADHD characterized by slow cognitive time.

In the study of Noggle et al., the authors examine the relationship between processing speed and working memory with low reading comprehension in ADHD. Their results show that working memory correlates significantly with reading comprehension and processing speed, although working memory is more decisive than the processing speed in the low reading comprehension of children with ADHD (Noggle, Thompson, & Davis, 2014). One possible observation of this study is that not all children with ADHD have problems in executive functions. Besides the low executive functions affect information processing because the child cannot get an overall mental picture of what he has read.

In a study with ADHD children and low readability of words, it was seen that variability in reaction time predicts a low reading comprehension because it affects the speed of word reading (decoding). It was also found that the standard deviation in the reaction time was a good predictor for word reading and reading comprehension (Tamm et al., 2014).These two studies suggest that the difficulties that mediate between low reading comprehension and ADHD are low processing speed and slower reaction time.


Noggle, C., Thompson, J., & Davis, J. (2014). B-22Impact of Working Memory and Processing Speed on Reading Comprehension Performance in ADHD. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology: The Official Journal of the National Academy of Neuropsychologists29(6), 544. doi:10.1093/arclin/acu038.110

Tamm, L., Epstein, J. N., Denton, C. A., Vaughn, A. J., Peugh, J., & Willcutt, E. G. (2014). Reaction Time Variability Associated with Reading Skills in Poor Readers with ADHD. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society : JINS20(3), 292–301. doi:10.1017/S1355617713001495


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