Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD makes it hard to pay attention and control behaviors. A person with ADHD may have trouble in school and making friends. A speech-language pathologist, or SLP, can help.

On this page:

About ADHD

ADHD is a lifelong brain disorder that makes it hard for a person to pay attention. Some people with ADHD have trouble sitting still or controlling their behavior.

Causes of ADHD

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown. The most likely cause is genetics. Many children with ADHD have a family history of the disorder.

Signs of ADHD

A person with ADHD may show some of the following signs:

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 her turn, such as when playing a game

Testing for ADHD

Your child's doctor will test your child for ADHD. Your doctor will want information from others, like you and his teacher. Your child's school may test him to see what help he needs in class. An SLP may test your child to see if he has speech, language, or social problems.

The SLP may:

  • Watch how your child interacts with other children and teachers
  • Listen to how your child talks with you and other family members
  • Talk with you about speech and language development
  • Talk with your child to see if she knows about the problems she has
  • Test speech and language skills
  • See how well your child can retell a story or talk about an event
  • Test your child's social skills
  • See how well your child can plan, organize, and pay attention to details

Treatment for ADHD

Each child with ADHD has different needs. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to help your child pay attention. You will learn about possible side effects.

Some children with ADHD also have learning disabilities. Others need help with social skills. An SLP can work with your child on speech, language, and social problems. The SLP can help your child learn how to plan and organize to get tasks done. Your child may need to learn how to take turns and pay attention when talking to others. The SLP will also work with your child's teacher to find ways to help him in class. He may need to sit in the front of the class. Or, he may need to use checklists or planners to stay organized. The SLP can work in the classroom to help your child.

Other Resources

This list does not include every website on this topic. ASHA does not endorse the information on these sites.  

To find an SLP near you, visit ProFind.