August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
The effects of sustained attention, spacing and type of presentation on reading comprehension in adolescents with and without ADHD
Author Affiliations
  • Lilach Shalev
    School of Education, Tel-Aviv University
  • Pnina Shtern
    School of Education, Tel-Aviv University
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 672. doi:10.1167/12.9.672
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      Lilach Shalev, Pnina Shtern; The effects of sustained attention, spacing and type of presentation on reading comprehension in adolescents with and without ADHD. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):672. doi: 10.1167/12.9.672.

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Abstract

Difficulties in reading comprehension are common in children and adolescents with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Few studies have examined difficulties in reading comprehension in individuals with ADHD. In order to further unravel the underlying mechanisms of reading comprehension difficulties among individuals with ADHD the current study investigated possible relations between sustained attention and reading comprehension among adolescents with and without ADHD. Another goal was to examine the impact of two manipulations on improving reading comprehension: spacing (standard- vs. double-spacing between words and lines) and type of presentation (computer screen vs. hard copy). Eight passages with expository text were introduced to a group of 20 ADHD adolescents aged 16-18 and to another 20 age-matched control participants. All participants were asked to read silently the passage and to answer 10 open comprehension questions. Sustained attention was assessed using the Conjunctive Continuous Performance Test (CCPT). Significant relations were found between sustained attention and reading (number of correct answers and reading duration). In addition, a significant interaction was obtained between presentation-type, spacing and level of sustained attention. Post-hoc tests revealed that for participants with good sustained attention, standard spaced texts displayed on a computer screen produced significantly more correct answers and fewer errors compared to standard spaced hard copy texts. Moreover, for participants with poor sustained attention, spaced text displayed on a computer screen triggered the best comprehension. Based on these results we concluded that difficulties in reading comprehension can derive from deficits in sustained attention. Thus, it is essential to screen for attention deficits when difficulties in reading comprehension occur. In addition, it is recommended to convert printed school materials to computer files that will enable to accommodate the extent of spacing according to the reader's preference.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012

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