Inhibition and shifting in children with learning deficits in arithmetic and reading

Sophie van der Sluis, Peter F. de Jong, A. van der Leij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

210 Citations (Scopus)


The executive functions of inhibition and shifting were studied in arithmetic-disabled children, reading-disabled children, reading plus arithmetic-disabled children, and controls (N = 74). Measures involved the rapid naming of objects, digits, letters, or quantities with or without additional task requirements that reflected inhibition or shifting. Also, the Making Trails task, reflecting shifting, was administered. For tasks without executive demands, arithmetic-disabled children were slower in the naming of digits and quantities, whereas reading-disabled children were slower in the naming of digits and letters. For the executive tasks, arithmetic-disabled children as well as reading plus arithmetic-disabled children were impaired on the Making Trails task and on an object naming task that required both inhibition and shifting. Reading-disabled children exhibited no problems in executive functioning. Furthermore, it was shown that reading plus arithmetic-disabled children experienced the combination of problems that characterize children with a single learning deficit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-266
Number of pages28
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2004


  • Arithmetic
  • Executive functioning
  • Inhibition
  • Learning disabilities
  • Rapid automatized naming
  • Reading
  • Shifting

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