Conversational Skills in Children
A parent asks:
Is it normal for children with ADD to prefer a small group of friends because it is too difficult to interact in a large group because of the chaos and quick pace of activity?
Michele Novotni answers:
At times it can be very overwhelming for both children and adults with ADD to participate in a group situation. The number of distractions increases as the number of people increase. Many people with ADD 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 ADD have difficulty keeping track of conversations. Another difficulty can be the need to wait longer for a turn to speak. 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.
Michele Novotni, Ph.D., is a psychologist and coach in private practice in Wayne, Pennsylvania.
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