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ERIC Number: EJ1015732
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Apr
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1092-4388
Referential Communication in Children with ADHD: Challenges in the Role of a Listener
Nilsen, Elizabeth S.; Mangal, Leilani; MacDonald, Kristi
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, v56 n2 p590-603 Apr 2013
Purpose: Successful communication requires that listeners accurately interpret the meaning of speakers' statements. The present work examined whether children with and without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) differ in their ability to interpret referential statements (i.e., phrasesthat denote objects or events) from speakers. Method: Children (6 to 9 years old), diagnosed with ADHD ("n" = 27) and typically developing ("n" = 26), took part in an interactive task in which they were asked by an adult speaker to retrieve objects from a display case. Children interpreted the referential statements in contexts that either did or did not require perspective-taking. Children's eye movements and object choices were recorded. Parents completed questionnaires assessing their child's frequency of ADHD symptoms and pragmatic communicative abilities. Results: Behavioral and eye movement measures revealed that children with ADHD made more interpretive errors and were less likely to consider target referents across the 2 communicative conditions. Furthermore, ADHD symptoms related to children's performance on the communicative task and to parental report of the child's pragmatic skills. Conclusion: Children with ADHD are less accurate in their interpretations of referential statements. Such difficulties would lead to greater occurrences of miscommunication. (Contains 4 tables, 3 figures, and 2 footnotes.)
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). 10801 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. Tel: 800-638-8255; Fax: 301-571-0457; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Conners Rating Scales; Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A