Struggles with reading comprehension are one of the least understood, and more "hidden" impacts of executive function deficits, yet they result from working memory and recall issues. The ability to retain what has been read, to genuinely understand the meaning and the context, to comprehend new vocabulary, in the face of multiple distractions, is indeed challenging for kids and teens with A.D.H.D. and executive function deficits.
In one example, a child or adolescent may read - and understand - a passage in non-fiction text, such as Social Studies or Science, yet within minutes, that same child can completely forget the brilliant idea he or she just had relating to and understanding such content. The result is shame and frustration, a feeling of "I'll never get it right." The peril that exists is damage to one's self-esteem and self-concept.
Working memory deficits that frequently co-exist with A.D.H.D. can impact a child or adolescent’s learning experience in a range of ways, including:
- challenges with reading comprehension (working memory and recall),
- written expression (organization and planning skills, as well as spelling patterns and retrieval of material for essays),
- and overall time management (handing in assignments on time, keeping track of materials, and knowing how to plan, accurately and effectively, in advance of long-term projects.)
Such working memory and recall issues are intrinsic elements of successful reading comprehension. Again, the result is frustration, shame, and disappointment in oneself. We can work on developing certain strategies that can help, and have been proven to yield concrete results.
1. Taking one's time and reading a passage - or chapter - twice is a good place to start. The time-honored strategies of underlining and taking good notes are also sure to be effective ways of improving one's comprehension skills, at any age.
2. Questioning Strategies and Note-Taking Skills are key here, as well. (Please search for my previous blogs on the Patch site for more detailed blogs on fun, effective ways to improve reading comprehension skills.)
3. Highlighting Key Vocabulary and underlining new or unfamiliar words can help build and expand each student's vocabulary. The result is empowerment not only in reading comprehension, but in written expression as well.
4. Partner with Qualified Support - A good coach who is trained in helping support children and adolescents in managing E.F. deficits can certainly be an invaluable asset.
In keeping with my tradition of ending each blog with a quote from children's literature, I share the following favorite (which may quite possibly be my favorite of all-time....)
"Promise me you'll always remember: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." ~ Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh (~ A. A. Milne)
Carolyn Polchinski, M.S.Ed. is a Clinical Professor of Reading and Literacy Education and licensed Learning Specialist based out of Scarsdale. She specializes in supporting children with A.D.H.D. and executive function deficits.
To learn more about the programs she offers, call 914.325.0297 or email Carolyn@ConfidentReaders.com. You can also read .