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 :)