This study examined the recall of televised stories for younger (4-6 years) and older (7-9 years) children with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) under two different viewing conditions (toys present/toys absent). Each child watched two Rugrats television programs, once with toys present and once with toys absent. Immediately after viewing a program, the child completed a free recall of the observed story. Comparison children’s recall increased more than ADHD children’s as importance level increased, and comparison children recalled more information overall than children with ADHD. When toys were present, children with ADHD retold less coherent stories than comparison children, as indexed by smaller correlations between the story units recalled and the order of these units in the story. In summary, children with ADHD demonstrated multiple difficulties in story comprehension. These findings add to our understanding of the differences in higher-order cognitive processing abilities between children with ADHD and comparison children, and suggest important areas of focus in designing more effective academic interventions for children with ADHD.

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Online version of this article was published November 29, 2006.

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