What is Attention Deficit Disorder/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?
Most common in school aged children, ADHD affects a child’s ability to pay attention and to concentrate. Typically the disorder is diagnosed by a Psychiatrist and a Clinical Psychologist with boys being four times more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder.
The three main areas of difficulty are;
- Poor attention skills (difficulty concentrating or paying attention to a task such as homework, poor listening skills, difficulty planning tasks, organizing tasks and completing tasks on time).
- Hyperactivity (seems unable to sit still, always fidgeting, tapping pencils, wiggling feet, appears restless, tries to do more than one thing at a time).
- Impulsivity (difficulty thinking before acting such as pushing a classmate before thinking).
These core areas of difficulty can have further affects on appropriate speech and language and communication development, particularly in social situations.
A child with ADHD may also have co-occurring learning difficulties which may further impact their speech, language and literacy skills(reading and writing).
Speech and language Symptoms
Speech and Language Therapists work on the following symptoms of ADHD.
Children with ADHD find it more challenging to take in language and understand what is said to them. They may:
- Have poor listening skills
- Difficulty with the understanding of words and sentences
- Struggle to follow verbal directions
- Difficulty taking in spoken information (may not take in information as accurately or quickly as classmates)
- Difficulty understanding written text such as following a storyline.
The child with ADHD may have trouble getting out what they want to say, rush what they say or talk in muddled up and unclear sentences.
A toddler with ADHD may be noticed with a delay in basic language skills such as developing age appropriate vocabulary (words), grammar or putting words into sentences.
In school the child may:
- Have difficulty thinking of and saying the desired word out loud (word finding difficulties)
- Difficulty answering questions using necessary key words
- Difficulty expressing themselves using words and sentences
- Difficulty planning and organizing their thoughts into well formed sentences
Social skills (pragmatic skills)
Social skills are the skills needed to get on well in conversations with others. As children with ADHD have difficulty understanding and applying the rules of conversation they may :
- Have difficulty maintaining appropriate eye contact
- Not pay attention to the person with which they are in conversation
- Trouble in taking turns in conversation with the other speaker(s)
- Difficulty knowing when they have talked too much (dominating the conversation)
- Ask inappropriate questions
- Difficulty in keeping a conversation topic going.
- May interrupt conversation when it is not appropriate (e.g. when adults are in conversation)
How Caint Speech Therapy can help:
Not all children but many of those with ADHD will experience language and communication difficulties. Our Speech and Language Therapist will undertake a detailed evaluation of your child’s speech, language and communication skills and provide an individualized treatment plan tailored to your child’s specific needs. Caint Speech Therapy will work on your child’s understanding of words and sentences, how your child uses language in everyday conversations, developing appropriate social skills such as not interrupting, keeping on topic, taking turns in conversation. Caint Speech Therapy will implement behavioural strategies to develop their inner self awareness and control needed to help them think before they speak/act. We will work on their body language such as using appropriate eye contact and gestures and facial expressions that are also important for successful communication. Caint Speech Therapy will provide parent training focused on building upon social skills at home as well as working on social skills in a fun way in the clinic through role-plays with the therapist or in a social skills group. Caint Speech Therapy will also liaise with your child’s teacher providing strategies such as visual schedules or checklists to address your child’s organization and planning skills. We will also provide teachers with advice and strategies to support language skills and social skills at school.
We can also work with older children who are struggling to keep up with their studies. To make daily routines easier we can help your child help themselves by providing strategies and tips for concentration and organization management to help them during school, study and in day to day living.