Conversational Skills in Children


"Is it normal for children with ADHD to prefer a small group of friends, if they find it too difficult to interact in a large group because of the chaos and quick pace of activity?"


Yes. At times it can be very overwhelming for both children and adults with ADHD to participate in a group situation. The number of distractions increases as the number of people increases and many people with ADHD have difficulty filtering out distractions even in a one-to-one setting. Also, transitions in conversation can move at a fast pace in group settings and many with ADHD have difficulty keeping track of conversations. Another difficulty can be the need to wait longer for a turn to speak.

Here are some suggestions for group situations:

  • Work on moving the conversation along by asking questions related to what someone was saying.
  • Rather than thinking about what you want to say in a large group, learn to just listen, relax and enjoy all the energy and chaos of a group.
  • Practice conversation skills in a very small group first (2-3 people) and gradually expand the size of the group.
  • If you do like to talk in a large group setting, be careful not to dominate the conversation.
Dr. Michele Novotni is an internationally recognized expert in the field of ADHD. She is the former president and CEO of the national Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), an inspiring speaker, best selling author, psychologist, coach and parent of a young adult with AD/HD. She is the author of Adult AD/HD and What Does Everybody Else Know That I Don't?.

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