Tuesday, January 22, 2013


One of the reasons I love my job so much is that it is so broad.  Did you know that a speech-language pathologist works not only with speech sounds, but also with following directions, grammar, story-telling, voice disorders, hearing rehabilitation, stuttering, and cognitive skills, such as self-talk, initiation of goals, and attention?  To name a few.  With regards to the latter, my current caseload includes a lot of children with attention deficit disorders, and I have been trying to figure out how to serve them better.  Looking at the Linguisystems website, I found a course called "Attention Disorders" (Clare B Jones, Jill Fahey).  It was free and just what I needed to increase my knowledge with AD/HD and how it affects communication.  I particularly liked it because I could print out the notes, study it on my own time, and take the test whenever I was finished.  PERFECT! It was worth 2 CMH's, which is 1/15th of what I need to do every 3 years - not so bad! Haha!

Here are some highlights from the course:

  1. AD/HD affects approximately 6-8% of school-age children.
  2. 25% of children with AD/HD also have anxiety.  36-38% also have depression.
  3. Individuals with AD/HD have about 5% smaller brain size.
  4. AD/HD is not solely an attention disorder, but an executive functioning disorder.  This means it not only involves attention, but also other areas such as goal selection, planning, organization, persistence, self-regulation, inhibitory control, self-talk, and flexibility.
  5. There are 3 core symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.  
  6. Many children with AD/HD are poor at following directions.  As an SLP, it is critical to distinguish whether the child does not understand the directional concepts (such as left, right, before, next to, between, etc.) OR whether the child has poor language/auditory/working memory.  This will entirely affect how to write a goal and how to address it. If they do not understand the concepts, you need to spend time discussing them separately.  More than likely, if the child has AD/HD, the main problem lies in their ability to hold the information in their memory while they proceed to obey the command.  Thus, an appropriate goal would be to work on auditory memory - not necessarily understanding directional concepts. 
  7. When working with a child with AD/HD, assess and treat the language of thinking, planning, and doing.  
  8. Remember that inattention most frequently undermines spoken language comprehension, working memory, and organization of thoughts for oral expression
  9. Common goal areas that could be appropriate include: repeating sentences, requesting confirmation, restating, using self-talk recognizing social cues, auditory scanning tasks, and visual scanning tasks.
  10. Here's a great article published by the Huffington Post on AD/HD and its effects on communication.