Verbal pragmatic characteristics of 4-5 year-old Saudi boys with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD)
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Al-Dakroury, W. (2014) Verbal pragmatic characteristics of 4-5 year-old Saudi boys with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD), no. 197.
This study investigated verbal pragmatic skills in Saudi Arabian children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It examined quantitatively the verbal output, turns, topic related skills, and interlocutor impact in the children with ADHD compared to age-matched typically developing (TD) children. Also, a qualitative approach was used to investigate the mother-child interaction in children with ADHD compared to TD children with respect to conversational contributions and repair by the mother and the complexity of responses from the child. Another goal of the study was developing an audio-visual language sample database for Saudi Arabian Arabic speaking children. The participants were twenty 4-5 year old Saudi boys. Ten were typically developing and ten had a diagnosis of ADHD. A 30 minute sample of speech during free play was collected from each child in conversation with an unfamiliar adult interlocutor and a 15 minute sample of speech was collected during free play with a familiar interlocutor (the mother). All sessions were recorded on DVD using two video cameras. Transcription and coding systems were used to analyze the data. Comparisons were made between the TD children and the children with ADHD using quantitative and qualitative techniques. The results of the quantitative study showed that children with ADHD have a reduced verbal output with respect to total number of words, total number of verbal turns and average number of words per turn compared to typically developing children of similar age. Also, participants with ADHD showed a significantly higher topic initiation to topic maintenance ratio compared to TD participants in the sessions with the unfamiliar interlocutor. No significant effect of interlocutor was found. The results of the qualitative study revealed that verbal skills are more challenging for children with ADHD relative to their unaffected peers which is presented by more frequent “no verbal response” than TD participants and use of more single word productions during their interactions with FI. However the incidence of “mazes” did not differentiate the children with ADHD from TD children. The mothers of children with ADHD were found to be more directive in conversation, to use "what" and "yes/no" questions more frequently and they had a greater tendency to use non-verbal cues. The differences were interpreted as evidence of the negative effect of the core behavioural characteristics of ADHD on verbal pragmatic skills and the presence of weak discourse skills in children with ADHD compared to TD age-matched children. The results also reveal the importance of investigating mother-child interaction variables in an attempt to understand the effect of parental style on the verbal skills of the children with ADHD. We have at this stage no means of telling whether the reduced verbal productivity is merely a by-product of non-linguistic core behavioural characteristics of this disorder or whether it stems from a core linguistic pragmatic deficit which is (or can be) an integral part of the disorder itself. The clinical implications are that very careful attention is needed in assessing children with ADHD to determine the nature and the extent of their language-use difficulties. Language-use difficulties exhibited by children with ADHD may be associated with a lack of social competence, which will be reflected in their conversational skills. The analysis provides the speech language pathologist with information that could assist them, by giving them a better understanding of children with ADHD, which would lead to more comprehensive assessments and more effective intervention and parent training programs.