Associated Difficulties in Language and Interventions

What is ADHD?

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Neurodevelopmental disorder causing difficulty in hyperactivity and attention
  • Unknown cause
  • Low birth weight, environmental factors, genetics, substance abuse during pregnancy and brain injuries. (Centers for Disease Control, 2014)

Prevalance and Diagnosis

  • Commonly diagnosed during childhood
  • Normally persists into adulthood
  • More frequently diagnosed in males
  • Incident rate has increased 42 percent from 2003 to 2011
  • 11 % of school aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD (Centers for Disease Control, 2014)
  • Commonly associated with Language Disorders or Specific Language Impairments

Research- Associated Difficulty in Receptive and Expressive Language

  • Evaluated using the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals 4th Edition (CELF-4)
  • Difficulty in Concepts and Following Directions, Sentence Structure, and Understanding Spoken Paragraphs
  • Difficulty in Formulating Sentences
  • Correlates to difficulty with semantics syntax, and reading comprehension.

Self Regulation Intervention

  • 65% of children diagnosed with ADHD also have a learning disability related to writing
  • Self Regulated Strategy Development; teaches specific strategies in writing
  • Planning, composition, editing
  • Scaffolding by teachers
  • Gains made by 25/27 students evaluated

Play Based Intervention

  • ADHD can be associated with difficulties in pragmatics
  • Incorporates typically developing children into therapy
  • Problem solving, working together, and joint play is elicited
  • Evaluated using Test of Playfulness
  • No significant pragmatic gains on standardized test
  • Improved play skills/ pragmatic skills during therapy
  • Improved problem solving skills

Intervention Implementation in Classrooms

  • Electronic Amplification
  • FM Systems
  • Provides direct audio from the teacher
  • Prevents distractions in the classroom
  • Improves child engagement



American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2014). Social language use (pragmatics). Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control. (2014). Data & statistics. Retrieved from

DeParma, A., Geffner, D. & Martin, N. (2011). Prevalence and nature of language impairment in children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder. Contemporary Issues in Communication Science & Disorders. Retrieved from

Docking, K., Munro, N., Cordier, R. & Ellis, P. (2013). Examining the language skills of children with ADHD following a play-based intervention. Child Language Teaching & Therapy, 29 (3) 219-304. Retrieved from doi: 10.1177/0265659012469042

Reid, R., Hagaman, J.L & Graham, S. (2014). Using self-regulate strategy development for written expression with students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. A Contemporary Journal, 12 (1), 21-42. Retrieved from

Schafer, E., Mathews, L., Menta,S., Hill, M., Munoz, A., Bishop, R. & Moloney, M. (2013). Personal FM systems for children with autism spectrum disorders(ASD) and/or attention- deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD): An initial investigation. Journal of Communication Disorders, 46 (1), 30-52. Retrieved from