Attention Deficit Disorder, whether inattentive, hyperactive or mixed type, is being diagnosed at an increasing rate in both children and adults. ADHD includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Children with ADHD may also struggle with low self-esteem, relationships and poor performance in school. While people typically do not completely outgrow their ADHD symptoms, they can learn strategies to be successful. And while treatment won’t cure ADHD, it can help a great deal with symptoms. Treatment is typically a combination of medications and/or behavioral interventions to support bringing out a person’s creative intelligence while helping them manage the challenges of ADD. 

What Causes ADD?

While the exact cause of ADHD is not clear, research efforts continue. Factors that may be involved in the development of ADHD include genetics, the environment or problems with the central nervous system at key moments in development. Some parts of the brain may be smaller and/or take longer to develop in those diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. While most researchers point to genetics and heredity as causes of ADD or ADHD, some scientists are investigating whether certain genes, especially ones linked to the neurotransmitter dopamine, may play a role in developing attention deficit disorder. Other experts say that our fast-paced, stressed-out, consumer-driven lives are also triggers for ADHD. 

Signs of ADD

Inattention

  • Has trouble concentrating
  • Starts thinking about other things
  • Has problems staying focused on tasks
  • Does not seem to listen
  • Does better on some tasks than others
  • Has problems planning, organizing, and finishing tasks on time
  • Has problems learning new things

Hyperactivity

  • Seems unable to sit still
  • Is restless and fidgety
  • May bounce from one activity to the next
  • Often tries to do more than one thing at once

Impulsivity

  • May act before thinking
  • Has problems waiting for a turn

Typical Behavior vs. ADD

Most healthy and typically developing children are inattentive, hyperactive or impulsive at one time or another. Young children are naturally energetic. They often are full of energy long after they’ve worn their parents out. In addition, some children just naturally have a higher activity level than others do. Likewise, it’s typical for preschoolers to have short attention spans and be unable to stick with one activity for long. Even in older children and teenagers, attention span often depends on the level of interest. 

ADD/ADHD is seen across all settings, so children who have problems in school but get along well at home, or with friends, are likely struggling with something other than ADHD. The same is true of children who are hyperactive or inattentive at home, but whose schoolwork and friendships remain unaffected. 

What To Watch Out For

  • Struggling in the classroom
  • Tendency to have more accidents and injuries 
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Difficulty interacting with and being accepted by peers and adults
  • Co-existing conditions such as: Oppositional defiant disorder, Conduct Disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Learning disabilities, Substance use disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Mood disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Tic Disorder or Tourette Syndrome.

How Speech Therapy Can Help

A speech therapist can work with your child on speech, language, and social problems. The speech therapist can help your child with executive functioning skills so they can learn how to plan and organize to get tasks done. 

Social skills can be addressed to help your child learn how to have better communication skills and improved relationships.  For example, they can learn how to take turns, improve attention and listening skills, use strategies to manage impulsivity, and learn perspective taking skills. The speech therapist can also collaborate with teachers, other providers and with your family to help reinforce and generalize skill building across settings; this includes accommodations needed in the various environments to support and sustain growth. 

At Vibe, our speech therapists are trained to work with children of every age, and in every facet of speech and language.  We are experts in our field. The clinical and personal relationship we have with you is at the core of everything we do. From the resources we bring to support growth in communication, to the highly individualized therapy sessions. We offer collaborative partnerships with other providers, family and caregivers and we are committed to exceeding your expectations. We look forward to helping your child bring their best self into the world!

Contact Vibe Speech Therapy to learn more about how we can help you!