ADHD and early communication experiences

Watching your child develop through the years is exciting. Communication is a key development area for children in the early years, as is the rapid development of your child’s physical dexterity and intellectual development. As your child begins to show awareness of their environment by labelling things, engaging in activities in which they show their interest, communication will grow.


If your young child has ADHD then as a parent you will have noticed that they are very active most of the time and they may find it difficult to sit still. When with other children they may be unable to wait their turn to communicate and may talk excessively most of the time. Every child is unique, and although development is sometimes predetermined by genetics, it can be significantly influenced by the child’s experiences in the environment and the people they interact with.

Parents and early childhood educators need to be able to set up communication experiences that allow children with ADHD to learn appropriate communication interactions. The following are some suggestions:

  • Use play for communication experiences and encourage turn taking in the conversation
  • Keep focus on the topic by ensuring you don’t get led by the child to another topic
  • Time limit activities and communication so the child doesn’t get bored and hence want to move to another topic or activity too quickly
  • Use a visual, object or a written schedule to help the child keep focused
  • Incorporate physical activity into the child’s day

Remember every child is unique and the degree and frequency of the child’s inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity will vary. You will need to have many activities planned to keep your child engaged. At home, assign the child tasks that they are responsible for and use a visual or pictorial reminder so that they can learn to take responsibility.

If you are aware that your child has another learning difficulty such as Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD) or an Intellectual Disability(ID) then further communication strategies will need to be considered.

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