I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted but virtual school I certainly keeping this SLP busy. This month, I wanted to celebrate a specific population who often goes misrepresented. October is ADHD awareness month, and I wanted to shine a light on this population I absolutely love working with.
What does ADHD look like?
ADHD looks different in each case. It presents differently in every person. I would like to dispel some stereotypes.
ADHD is NOT:
- A behavior problem
- A learned behavior
- A chemical imbalance
- A medical condition
So if it’s always different, what can it look like? ADHD can manifest as distractibility to self and others, interrupting, sensory seeking behaviors, impulsive thoughts, and disorganization. It can also look like confusion, focusing on a particular detail, being talkative, restlessness, or fidgety. This is not an exhaustive list, and the combination of manifestations can include any, all, or none of these symptoms.
What does ADHD look like in speech?
ADHD has a complex appearance. In speech it can appear as difficulty following single or multistep directions, blurting out or interrupting in conversation, having a hard time following a conversation, getting stuck on a detail instead of the big picture, difficulty expressing thoughts and ideas clearly, or in a way that is easily understood by a conversational partner, determining main idea and key detail, and/or paraphrasing or summarizing what was just learned.
Strategies I’ve used:
I’ve used a variety of strategies and this is what I’ve seen work with my students. These might not work for everyone, but these are strategies I’ve seen in action.
- Taking breaks from work (e.g. going on a quick walk/getting a drink).
- Sitting on alternative seating (e.g. ball chair, wobble stool).
- Highlighting the most essential parts of directions.
- Chunking activities into smaller parts.
- Visual schedules so students can follow along with the session in real time.
- Pairing visuals with verbal directions.
- Using weighted blankets for sensory input.
- Preparing the student ahead of time, or telling them they’ll be next for a turn/to answer a questions
- Flexibility in how they work–students don’t have to be seated to learn or work, they can stand, bounce, rock, as long as they’re on task.
There are far more strategies than I can list here, and there are excellent resources like Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)and Attention Deficit Disorder Organization (ADDA) with information on the subject, articles, and tools. I would love to know what your experiences are, what works for you, and tools and strategies in comments.
Keep playing with words and see what your message creates!
–Stef the StageSLP