Learning New Words

An interesting study about ADHD kids and language made me see Natalie's skills in a new light.
ADHD Parenting Blog |
Parenting ADHD Children blogger Kay Marner is mother to an ADHD daughter in Ames, Iowa

Every single time I click around ADDitudemag.com, I learn something new and interesting about ADHD. Have you ever seen a website that contains so much practical information? (Actually, as a non-ADHDer, I find the website itself to be just a little ADHDish!)

Today’s find was this: “ADHD Children Process Language More Slowly: New study indicates a difference in language comprehension speed--but not accuracy--in ADHD children.”

Natalie sometimes repeats things she hears, in a whisper, to herself. I’ve always assumed that she’s doing so in order to process the words’ and the sentences’ meaning. I think that’s a pretty high-level self-taught coping skill. Natalie may have ADHD and developmental delays, and she struggles even in special ed, but she’s also incredibly resilient and smart.

She also sometimes uses a simple word correctly in a sentence, and then turns around and asks me what the word means. Here are a couple of examples that floored me. “Mom, I had a bad dream. I’m scared. What does ‘scared’ mean?” and “Maybe we could go to the park after lunch. What does ‘maybe’ mean?” ‘Angry’ is another example of word she’s asked me about. I’m the only person she ever does this with, and she does it fairly often.

Since Natalie lived in an orphanage in Russia for the first 2 ½ years of her life, I’ve assumed these language issues related to going from learning Russian to learning English right smack in the middle of those critical language-learning years. But now I find that problems processing language also make sense in terms of her ADHD. Interesting.

Do you have any anecdotal evidence to indicate that your child with ADHD processes language more slowly?

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