Do you have ADHD or a language impairment?

Do you have ADHD or a language impairment?

Read more: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry published a study that examined language impairments (LI) and ADHD. They found an association, but perhaps not what you’d expect.

The research indicates that testing for LI is very important when testing for ADHD.

Language impairment may be defined as significant difficulties affecting listening comprehension, oral expression, social interaction, reading, writing, or spelling. Its very definition reads like a checklist for ADHD symptoms.

The researchers found that LI are commonly observed among children referred for psychiatric services — especially ADHD. This would seem to makes sense; many children with ADHD have the same symptoms as LI:

1. They have poor social interactions manifesting in an inability to make friends.
2. They have poor listening comprehension manifesting when they cannot take multiple step instructions (e.g. Go to your bedroom, put your pajamas on, brush your teeth, get in bed).
3. They have difficulty expressing themselves orally resulting in frustration and angry outbursts.
4. They often have difficulty with reading, writing, and spelling.

The researchers concluded that children with LI were at the most disadvantage regardless of the nature of the psychiatric diagnosis.

Furthermore, the researchers noted that “…caution must be exercised in attributing to children with ADHD what might be a reflection of problems for children with language impairment generally. As most therapies are verbally based it is notable that language competence is rarely evaluated systematically before such therapies are undertaken.”

In another study performed in Norway, Speech Therapist Wenche Andersen Helland noted, “There is often a one-sided focus on the behavior of kids with ADHD. But these children may have communication problems as they grow older, particularly in a school situation, if their language skills are not given enough attention. If we don’t work hard enough to strengthen language development in children with ADHD, we increase the risk that they
won’t learn what they should in school. They’ll also be more likely to fall short in social interactions with their peers. We need to intervene early to prevent a downward spiral.”

In other words, check for LI when checking for ADHD. This cannot be accomplished in the typical 20 minute session with a pediatrician. A speech language pathologist can determine a language impairment. The bottom line is that it is wise to get a full evaluation from a specialist that includes a full physical, vision test, language impairment test, and others.

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We are pleased to introduce our new advice column, Dear Sheer Genius.  This advice column will be sent out every week and we invite all of you to write to our very own attention specialist, Sheer Genius.  You may write Sheer Genius and ask questions about Play Attention, attention problems, education, behavior shaping, parenting concerns, peer relationships etc.!
Sheer Genius is here to help!
Who is Sheer Genius?
Sheer Genius is the virtual member of the Play Attention family. His outstanding knowledge and experience is incorporated into Play Attention to help guide you through our program every step of the way!
How do I submit a question?
To submit your question please click here or email sheergenius@playattention.net.  If your question is selected you will receive a personal email from Sheer Genius and your question/answer will be posted on our website as well as our Facebook page.  We will only use your first name if you provide it.
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ADHD and Language Impairments

Is there a connection?
This study was carried out in collaboration between the University of Bergen and the University of Linköping in Sweden. It was published in the Journal of Attention Disorders.
Full article: www.sciencenordic.com,
Many parents and teachers find that their ADHD child or student has an accompanying language impairment too. We often witness these children struggle to express themselves verbally or in written language. They often speak in bits and pieces while failing to understand the content of conversations. Issuing multiple step directions is confusing to the child.Researcher and Speech Therapist Wenche Andersen Helland of Helse Fonna and Statped Vest in Bergen, Norway conducted research on the language skills of ADHD children. According to www.sciencenordic.com, Helland led a clinical study of 59 children aged 6-12, which showed that kids with ADHD have a poorer understanding of language in social situations than children their age without the disorder – healthy children. Helland also researched over 5600 children aged 7 – 9 and found the same language deficits.

“There is often a one-sided focus on the behavior of kids with ADHD. But these children may have communication problems as they grow older, particularly in a school situation, if their language skills are not given enough attention,” says Helland.

“If we don’t work hard enough to strengthen language development in children with ADHD, we increase the risk that they won’t learn what they should in school.”

“They’ll also be more likely to fall short in social interactions with
their peers. We need to intervene early to prevent a downward spiral,” adds Helland.

This finding may be related to the social difficulties many ADHD children encounter.

Hellen thinks that ADHD children should have their language skills assessed as well, and schools should be notified of the results to provide services if necessary.

This study was carried out in collaboration between the University of Bergen and the University of Linköping in Sweden. It was published in the Journal of Attention Disorders.

Photo: ADHD and Language Impairments<br />
Is there a connection?</p>
<p>Many parents and teachers find that their ADHD child or student has an accompanying language impairment too. We often witness these children struggle to express themselves verbally or in written language. They often speak in bits and pieces while failing to understand the content of conversations. Issuing multiple step directions is confusing to the child. </p>
<p>Researcher and Speech Therapist Wenche Andersen Helland of Helse Fonna and Statped Vest in Bergen, Norway conducted research on the language skills of ADHD children. According to www.sciencenordic.com, Helland  led a clinical study of 59 children aged 6-12, which showed that kids with ADHD have a poorer understanding of language in social situations than children their age without the disorder - healthy children. Helland also researched over 5600 children aged 7 - 9 and found the same language deficits. </p>
<p>“There is often a one-sided focus on the behavior of kids with ADHD. But these children may have communication problems as they grow older, particularly in a school situation, if their language skills are not given enough attention,” says Helland.</p>
<p>“If we don't work hard enough to strengthen language development in children with ADHD, we increase the risk that they won't learn what they should in school.”</p>
<p>“They’ll also be more likely to fall short in social interactions with<br />
their peers. We need to intervene early to prevent a downward spiral,” adds Helland.</p>
<p>This finding may be related to the social difficulties many ADHD children encounter. </p>
<p>Hellen thinks that ADHD children should have their language skills assessed as well, and schools should be notified of the results to provide services if necessary.</p>
<p>This study was carried out in collaboration between the University of Bergen and the University of Linköping in Sweden. It was published in the Journal of Attention Disorders.