"My child has ADHD but talks fine. So why does he need to see a speech therapist?"
Children see speech therapists (STs) – or speech-language pathologists – for a variety of reasons. In fact, STs see both children and adults for such a wide range of developmental or acquired conditions that people are often surprised at the scope of their work!
As speech pathologists work with nearly all communication and dysphagia (swallowing) disorders they will often be a member of the multi-disciplinary team that assesses your child with ADHD. This is because ADHD (Attentional Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) can impact on many areas of functioning including speech, comprehension, expressive language, fluency (stuttering), literacy, social-pragmatic skills, and executive function (planning/organisation) skills.
A study done in 2019 (Zenaro et al.) found that children with ADHD struggle with general narrative skills such as keeping a story going, creating problems and solutions, and generating endings for their stories. This might translate as a child coming home from school and not being able to recount or relay what happened at school either.
Children with ADHD are also known to have general language and pragmatic language weaknesses compared to their typically developing peers (Staikova et al., 2015). This means that kids with ADHD might be attending speech and language services for social communication too.
So, what can a family with a newly diagnosed child expect from Speech and Language Therapy? Individual sessions include interventions to target specific areas of difficulty, which will be different for each child. Groups are a great way to remediate social-pragmatic skills and upskill in other areas of communication and language.
Whether your child has received a recent diagnosis, or they’ve been diagnosed for a while, it’s always worth checking out if ST services might benefit them.