Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine the impact of comorbid specific language impairment (SLI) on verbal and spatial working memory in children with DSM-IV combined subtype Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD-C). Participants were a clinical sample of 8½- to 12½-year-old children diagnosed with ADHD-C. A group of ADHD-C with SLI was compared to a group of ADHD-C without SLI, and a group of normal children, matched on age and nonverbal intelligence. The results show that ADHD-C children with SLI scored significantly lower than those without SLI and normal children, on verbal working memory measures only. Both ADHD groups performed normally on spatial working memory measures. It is concluded that working memory deficits are not a specific characteristic of ADHD but are associated with language impairments. The importance of screening for language disorders in studies of neuropsychological functioning in children with ADHD is emphasized.