Ask the Experts

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 to help your child prepare herself for group situations:

  • Work with her on moving the conversation along by teaching her to ask questions related to what someone was saying.
  • Rather than thinking about what he wants to say in a large group, help him 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 children) and gradually expand the size of the group.
  • If she does like to talk in a large group setting, explain to her that she must be careful not to dominate the conversation.