Awareness · Inclusion · Language Comprehension · Strategies · The Human Connection · Virtual Learning

Celebrate You to Elevate You: ADHD Awareness Month

Hi readers!
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

ADHD is:

  • 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

Articulation · Cognition · Fluency · Inclusion · Language Comprehension · Pragmatics and Social Skills · Strategies · The Human Connection · Virtual Learning · Vocabulary

Everything is Possible With Zeroes and Ones: The Start of the School Year

Hi readers,
I hope you found fun and creative ways to enjoy your summer. This has been quite the start of the school year. I took the summer off to teach virtual summer school and think about the future of this blog. I am continuing to provide services virtually for my students. I am about to start week three of virtual speech and I’m not gonna lie, this is hard. This is a lot on my students and their families. I miss my kids. I miss my staff. As of today, my schools have been closed for 6 months. I’ve gotten creative in how I provide support, thanks to Boom cards and Nearpod and Edpuzzle.

I am so proud of how adaptable my students have been. I’ve been forgetting to extend that same pride to myself. I find myself drained, and all I’ve done is sit at a desk all day. The purpose of this post is for students who find themselves in any sort of virtual learning. I have some ideas for how to make virtual learning work for you.

  1. Create a dedicated workspace.
    Find a space that is used exclusively for school. Maybe it’s a desk in your room maybe it’s the kitchen table, maybe it’s your couch. Keep all of your school supplies there–manipulatives, chargers, headphones, workbooks. Store those items nearby so you are always ready to work and you’ll always know where your school supplies are stocked.
  2. Stick to the schedule from your teacher or school.
    Just like school, it’s important to be on time for your virtual class, just like it is to be at school on time. You can set alarms to wake up, just like you would if you were going to school. Eat a good breakfast and keep a water bottle nearby.
  3. Take breaks.
    This one is important. My school district has mandatory breaks. During these breaks, step away from the screens. Read a book, take a walk, play with your siblings, adults, or pets. If you can avoid social media, do so. Don’t forget to move. Try some jumping jacks, a game of Simon Says, movement breaks from GoNoodle have a variety of movement breaks from higher cardio to yoga and calming breaks.
  4. Try your hardest.
    We know it’s tempting to work at less than 100% when you’re at home. You might be more comfortable than you would be at home. Your teachers are trying their best and miss you dearly. We are working to give you the best education possible in a virtual setting. We know this is very hard, and new for all of us. We know our digital platforms can be glitchy, and may not always work. We’ll understand. These are things beyond our control.
  5. Finish each day when it’s over.
    There are points in every day when we feel “done.” It’s important to recognize those moments and either take a break then, or push through until the end of your session. When the school day is over, walk away from your screens. Give yourself a break before starting homework, if you have any. Talk to your family and friends about your day and theirs. Write letters, make phone calls, walk your pet, stretch from sitting for so long. School will start again tomorrow, it will be a new day, and you’ll begin again. We’ll all get through this together.

    I don’t know about you all, but I’ve found I’m spending entirely too much times in front of screens. In an effort to decrease this, I will be posting once a month until the end of the year. After much careful consideration, I’ve realized this blog is no longer as fulfilling to me as it has been over the last few years. Speech has been stressful, to say the least, and never knowing if/when I’m returning to buildings is getting to be too much. I love this blog and all it stands for, but the season of my writing here is winding down. I look forward to continuing to post in the coming months.

    Keep playing with words and see what your message creates!
    –Stef the StageSLP