What is ADHD?
ADHD is a disorder of the brain that causes those affected to struggle with focus, attention, self-control, and/or sitting still. It is a lifelong condition for which there is no cure, however, there are many resources and supports available that can help someone who is affected by ADHD to improve their focus and attention as well as improve any other areas that may be affected. While the exact cause of ADHD is unknown, it is likely hereditary as many children with ADHD also have a parent or close relative with the same condition. In many cases, ADHD can affect speech and communication. People with ADHD have a higher risk of articulation disorders, problems with the fluency of speech, and the overall quality and tone of their speaking voice. Speech therapy can be a highly valuable resource, for anyone who is struggling with communication problems related to ADHD. If you want to learn more about how speech therapy can help improve not only your speech and language skills but also your ability to focus and reach goals, schedule your free introductory call today!
A person with ADHD may experience a few, some, or all of the following challenges:
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Is Easily Distracted
- Struggles to stay focused on a specific task
- Appears to Not Listen when Being Spoken To
- Manages Some Tasks Better Than Others
- Experiences problems related to Planning, Executing and Finishing Some Tasks
- Has DIfficulty Learning New Skills or Concepts
- Has Great Difficulty Staying Still
- Is Often Fidgety or Restless
- Frequently Bounces Between Activities or Tasks
- Attempts to Do Multiple Things At Once
- Difficulty with Impulse Control
- Often Acts Without Thinking
- Struggles with Impatience
- Has a Hard Time Waiting Their Turn
Does ADHD Cause Speech Problems? What Language Difficulties are Associated with ADHD?
One study showed that as many as ⅔ of children diagnosed with ADHD also have speech and language disorders, and other research has shown that percentage to be as high as 90%. ADHD can affect speech and language skills in many different ways and affects each person differently.
Those with ADHD are at a higher risk of developing articulation problems, which affect one’s ability to produce certain letter sounds and meet certain speech milestones as they grow and develop. Differences in the vocal quality and fluency of speech are also common. In some cases, ADHD has been detected through these differences. When children with ADHD are compared alongside those with learning disabilities alone, they display a higher level of increased volume and pitch variability when speaking. A higher number of pauses while talking was also identified.
As children with ADHD work to organize their thoughts when speaking, it is common for them to use more word fillers and produce more word or sound repetitions. This often leads to misunderstandings from others and impatience from both the child speaking and those who are listening and trying to understand them.
Processing language is also different for children with ADHD and they have an increased risk of developing significant language delays. Children with ADHD often get distracted easily and can lose focus when they are speaking. Finding the right words and expressing their thoughts effectively during conversation can also be difficult. Difficulties related to planning and organizing can result in grammatical errors even when they possess the skills ordinarily.
Children with ADHD also struggle with listening comprehension especially when the person speaking is speaking rapidly or at length and they are in a noisy environment (such as a classroom.) They may lose track of a conversation when listening, missing entire components or details, and can often appear to not be listening at all. These difficulties can have academic and social implications, and some children with ADHD can become so overwhelmed that they become withdrawn and refuse to engage.
Difficulties understanding spoken language related to ADHD can sometimes be incorrectly diagnosed as “auditory processing disorder” when there is no problem with the actual auditory pathway. The information makes it in, but impairments with executive function mismanage the information.
Pragmatic language refers to the social and conversational aspects of language and nonverbal communication. Children with ADHD often exhibit such behaviors as blurting out answers, interrupting, and speaking too loudly or excessively. All of these break the norms of social interaction and conversation and can result in problems interacting with and relating to their peers as well as the adults in their life.
When it comes to non-verbal communication, most children with ADHD have these skills intact. They understand the basic rules of communication, such as waiting their turn to speak, but due to high levels of distractibility and impulsiveness, they may struggle to follow these “rules” despite understanding them. You can learn more about how ADHD affects communication skills and how speech therapy can help by scheduling your free introductory call today!
Do People with ADHD Need Speech Therapy? How Does Speech Therapy Help ADHD?
Both children and adults with ADHD can benefit from time with a speech-language pathologist. An SLP helps by teaching new skills and strategies to help their patient follow directions, plan, and complete tasks, and focus on their goals.
When a child receives a diagnosis of ADHD, an evaluation by a speech and language pathologist is a very important piece of understanding the whole picture of your child’s challenges and strengths. The speech and language therapist uses a large variety of activities and interventions which will depend on the specific abilities and needs of the individual. SLPs are experts in delivering these techniques using a behavioral approach, using positive reinforcement structure, and focused goal setting for the child. Speech and language therapists also often work closely with teachers and educational staff to ensure the child is supported and able to reach their full potential in achieving academic success.
Speech and language therapy is a vital resource and can be extremely beneficial for individuals with ADHD that affects their speech, language, and communication skills. Improving and supporting speech, listening and communication skills will also benefit the child in their home, social and academic lives. An SLP also knows that people with ADHD are thoughtful, creative and intelligent, and special because they can see and navigate the world differently. For parents of children with ADHD, it is so important to make sure that their children’s needs are met and their ideas are understood. One of the most helpful types of professionals for children and adults who struggle with ADHD is a speech therapist. Get started by scheduling your free introductory call with Great Speech today!