Elevated attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in children who stutter.
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PURPOSE: This study described the proportion of children who stutter who exhibit Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms, manifesting in inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive behaviours. Children who stutter with these challenging behaviours may not respond as quickly and successfully to stuttering treatment. A preliminary exploration of differences in treatment responsiveness for children with and without ADHD symptoms was undertaken. METHOD: Participants were 185 preschool children who stutter who had completed stuttering therapy within 3 months prior to study commencement. Differences between groups of children who stutter with and without elevated ADHD symptoms were investigated, in terms of pre-treatment stuttering features (stuttering severity and typography), demographic variables (age at onset, time between onset and commencement of therapy, family history and sex) and treatment data (post-treatment stuttering severity and number of sessions to achieve discharge criteria). RESULTS: One-half (50%) of participants exhibited elevated ADHD symptoms. These children required 25% more clinical intervention time to achieve successful fluency outcomes than children without elevated ADHD symptoms. Findings suggest that more ADHD symptoms, increased pre-treatment stuttering severity, and male sex were associated with poorer responsiveness to stuttering treatment. CONCLUSION: The large proportion of children exhibiting elevated ADHD symptoms, and the increase in clinical contact time required in this subgroup to achieve successful fluency outcomes, is suggestive of the need for clinicians to tailor stuttering intervention to address these concomitant behaviour challenges. Findings support the use of careful caseload management strategies to account for individual differences between children, and strengthen prognostic information available to parents and clinicians.
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