Writing difficulties are common in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Preliminary evidence suggests that early character writing ability is fundamental for later writing composition and academic achievement. Critical factors of different character writing tasks in children with ADHD, however, remain unclear. This study aims to describe the performance and identify predictors of Chinese character writing in children with ADHD. Thirty Mandarin Chinese-speaking children with ADHD (7.16 ± 0.59 years) and thirty matched peers (7.21 ± 0.57 years) were recruited from northern Taiwan. They were evaluated with the Battery of Chinese Basic Literacy (BCBL); the Chinese version of the Test of Nonverbal Intelligence, fourth edition (C-TONI-4); the Chinese version of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised (C-PPVT-R); orthographic awareness test; character naming test; and the Bruininks Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, second edition (BOT-2). The results showed that Mandarin Chinese-speaking children with ADHD scored lower than their typically developing peers on both dictation and copying subtests. After controlling for age, orthographic awareness and inattention were identified as important predictors of character dictation; while, manual dexterity was a critical predictor of character copying in children with ADHD. The results demonstrated that character writing problems may exist in Mandarin Chinese-speaking children with ADHD, and cognitive-linguistic and fine-motor skills have varying contributions to Chinese character writing tasks.
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