We found another gooooood one, folks! Check this out: “Are Children with ADHD at Risk for Developing Language Impairments?”, by Dr. Sean Redmond at MedBridge*.
At first glance, differentiating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) from Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) seems simple—one’s a deficit of attention, the other language. Different–different. And yet…. how often do tests of attention include language components (all the time…), and how often do tests of language require attention (all the time…). Eek!
Dr. Redmond presents data to indicate that the diagnosis of specific language impairment is way lower than its prevalence (NOTE: SLI = the “specific” version of DLD; when language is the child's only impairment). And, conversely, the diagnosis of ADHD is much higher than its prevalence. So that’s something to keep in mind.
Then, what do we know about overlap between the two disorders? Are DLD and ADHD likely to co-occur? Because it sure does seem like many of our clients have BOTH. And does having BOTH make things worse for the child? (I’ll let Dr. Redmond answer these for you. The answers are actually somewhat surprising!)
The most valuable component of this course, though, is the part where Dr. Redmond presents tools for differential diagnosis. He talks about difficulties that are unique to ADHD, unique to DLD, and difficulties which overlap the two disorders. He talks about how many of our popular testing instruments actually don’t do a great job of differentiating the two, and provides SLPs with tips on how to deal with this. (And, might I add, realistic methods of differentiating the two! Not just tons and tons of lengthy extra testing. Hallelujah!)
Finally, some food for thought. Dr. Redmond suggests:
“Diagnosis of ADHD should happen after a language impairment has been ruled out.”
And how often does THAT happen? Not so much. But, by the end of this lecture, you’ll realize why is most certainly should!
Happy CEUing, #slpeeps!
*Disclosure: Any links with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links, meaning The Informed SLP, LLC (TISLP) will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Please note that TISLP has strict rules about what type of content we’re willing to share with you. We only share products or resources that meet our standard of being clinically applicable, clinically useful, and based on the strongest available research evidence. Additionally, which MedBridge courses we choose to review is a decision made independently by the TISLP team member(s) writing the post, and must be: 1) evidence-based, 2) clinically useful, and 3) enjoyable :)
As promised, once per month I’ll review a new CEU course for you from MedBridge*. I’ll be selecting courses that are:
My first pick, as we wrap up 2017 and transition into 2018 (helloooo last-minute CEUS!) is “Language, Literacy, and the SLP*” by Shari Robertson. This course caught my attention because SLPs' role in literacy has been a hot topic lately. It has been discussed a lot recently in the research (e.g. see one of our reviews on this topic). I also regularly hear our speech–language scientists discussing SLPs' role in literacy as though it's the most obvious thing in the world (e.g. in the Clinical Research for SLPs Facebook group).
And yet, it's really not fully embraced by speech–language pathologists at large. Why? Well, first, many of us didn't have much coursework on this in graduate school, nor see our clinical supervisors successfully supporting literacy in a school environment. PLUS: A) we’re busy already, and saying “do more” usually doesn’t go over so well, B) there are classroom teachers and reading specialists already working on this, too, so why us?, and C) many of us are just plain not used to doing it, and adding a new skill set isn't exactly convenient.
I get all of that! I was an elementary-based and preschool-based SLP from 2011–2015, and I’ll admit that my support for students’ literacy was seriously lacking. In the early years I did none of it (sorry, don't hate!). My PhD was in speech, and I was a little naïve when it came to exactly what I should be doing to support language, in general, let alone literacy. I finally started figuring out what I needed to be doing after a few years in, but still felt like I was facing a ton of barriers (mostly difficulty coordinating with classroom teachers and reading specialists). So this whole “I play a very small role, here; other people are taking care of it” sentiment—I get it. But here’s the good news: Dr. Robertson seems to get it, too! One of my favorite quotes from the course is (in response to being asked/told to support literacy):
“Our typical reaction is, Sure no problem! On the outside… But on the inside, many of us are thinking, Are you kidding me? I don’t know anything about literacy!”
~ Slow clap, Shari Robertson ~
More good news: This course will leave you feeling more empowered than exhausted— promise. A lot of the course content is simply showing you what you already know about literacy. We SLPs have language expertise, and are arguably the only profession with extensive language expertise who serves children. This is a good thing, because it means we know what we're doing perhaps more often than we realize. But it also means that, to rely on education professionals exclusively, who usually don't have language expertise, won't cut it. Our students will be missing out.
Overall, I’d say over half of SLPs I know (myself included) would get a lot out of this course. And enjoy it! The 10% of SLPs (I’m making up numbers, here…) who already feel they're literacy experts? Meh; this one may be too easy for you. However, Dr. Robertson actually has a series on the topic (I haven’t watched them all yet), so there may be others you need, including:
Language & Literacy: Phonemic Awareness
Language & Literacy: Reading Fluency
Language & Literacy: Vocabulary
Language & Literacy: Reading Comprehension
So enjoy, #slpeeps!
P.S. Did anyone else have a déjà vu moment with Dr. Robertson (as in, why do I know this person)? Google tells me she’s ASHA BOD President Elect for 2018 (here and here). Nice!
*Disclosure: Any links with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links, meaning The Informed SLP, LLC (TISLP) will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Please note that TISLP has strict rules about what type of content we’re willing to share with you. We only share products or resources that meet our standard of being clinically applicable, clinically useful, and based on the strongest available research evidence. Additionally, which MedBridge courses we choose to review is a decision made independently by the TISLP team member(s) writing the post, again, satisfying the criteria of: 1) evidence-based, 2) clinically useful, and 3) enjoyable :)
The Clinical Research for SLPs group on Facebook is growing fast! Let's take a look at what it has to offer:
Also, there's a weekly chat feature, where we invite experts to come give us great info and answer questions. Here's a small sample of folks we've invited:
You can go BACK to conversations you may have missed by searching these #week__ hashtags within the group (once you join). See the full schedule of past guests under the Files section of the group.
Oh, and if you're wondering who "we" is? We have several group admins, a mix of SLPs and scientists, from different parts of the country and different universities. Learn about us here.