Working memory influences processing speed and reading fluency in ADHD.

Mark McIntosh,'s picture
PubMed URL: 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21287422
Author: 
Mahone EM
Author List: 
Jacobson LA
Ryan M
Martin RB
Ewen J
Mostofsky SH
Denckla MB
Mahone EM
Journal: 
Child Neuropsychol
PubMed ID: 
21287422
Pagination: 
209-24
Volume: 
17
Issue: 
3
Abstract: 
Processing-speed deficits affect reading efficiency, even among individuals who recognize and decode words accurately. Children with ADHD who decode words accurately can still have inefficient reading fluency, leading to a bottleneck in other cognitive processes. This "slowing" in ADHD is associated with deficits in fundamental components of executive function underlying processing speed, including response selection. The purpose of the present study was to deconstruct processing speed in order to determine which components of executive control best explain the "processing" speed deficits related to reading fluency in ADHD. Participants (41 ADHD, 21 controls), ages 9-14 years, screened for language disorders, word reading deficits, and psychiatric disorders, were administered measures of copying speed, processing speed, reading fluency, working memory, reaction time, inhibition, and auditory attention span. Compared to controls, children with ADHD showed reduced oral and silent reading fluency and reduced processing speed-driven primarily by deficits on WISC-IV Coding. In contrast, groups did not differ on copying speed. After controlling for copying speed, sex, severity of ADHD-related symptomatology, and GAI, slowed "processing" speed (i.e., Coding) was significantly associated with verbal span and measures of working memory but not with measures of response control/inhibition, lexical retrieval speed, reaction time, or intrasubject variability. Further, "processing" speed (i.e., Coding, residualized for copying speed) and working memory were significant predictors of oral reading fluency. Abnormalities in working memory and response selection (which are frontally mediated and enter into the output side of processing speed) may play an important role in deficits in reading fluency in ADHD, potentially more than posteriorally mediated problems with orienting of attention or perceiving the stimulus.
Published Date: 
January, 2011

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