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The ADHD Book of Lists: A Practical Guide for Helping Children and Teens with Attention Deficit Disorders, 2nd Edition by Sandra F. Rief

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5.10 Spelling: Challenges, Strategies, and Supports

  • Accurate spelling requires good phonological processing and phonics skills, which are areas of significant weakness for students with dyslexia. Because ADHD and dyslexia are common coexisting disorders, many children and teens with ADHD have these phonological and language-based processing difficulties, which make spelling a struggle.
  • Students with ADHD who do not have coexisting dyslexia may have spelling difficulties related to inattention (noticing features of the word), impulsivity (writing the word without thinking through each of the letters or checking to see if it looks accurate), and weaknesses in working memory (holding the word in mind while sounding out and recording it).
  • Spelling taxes a child's memory (working memory and long-term) and is complicated by the ease or difficulty the child has in writing the letters legibly and in the proper order (International Dyslexia Association, 2008).
  • Inaccurate spelling can have a negative impact on the way a written product is judged.
  • When students are weak spellers, their written work suffers. Instead of using words they may not know how to spell, they may limit the vocabulary they use, reducing the quality and quantity of their writing.
  • When students struggle with spelling, they have less mental energy to focus on what they want to say and how to organize their thoughts when writing.
  • To become competent spellers, students must master a sequence of skills and progress through ...

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