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Faster Talkers, Slow Talkers and ADHDers

People with ADHD don’t always do things at the “right” speed. This shows up in many different kinds of actions, but one where it’s especially obvious is talking, because talking is something we do so much.

ADHDers can be prone to talking “too fast.” There are a few reasons this happens.

TalkingOne is because ADHDers can do anything too fast. This is related to hyperactivity and impatience. We have a tendency to want to get immediately to whatever our goal is rather than having the self-control to pace ourselves on the way.

Another reason ADHDers might talk too fast is because our mouths are struggling to keep up with our thoughts. While we’re in the middle of saying something, another idea that we want to say suddenly occurs to us and captures our interest. This succession of thoughts can lead people with ADHD into talking faster than is normal, just like it can take them off on conversational tangents.

But there are also cases where people with ADHD talk … unusually … slowly.

Probably the most common reason this happens is because of trouble organizing our thoughts and putting them into words. Explaining something verbally requires ordering your thoughts into words, which can also mean condensing multiple different thoughts into a form that’s straightforward and not rambling. For anyone, but often for ADHDers, this managing and articulating of thoughts can take a moment.

Even when ADHDers are talking slowly, it doesn’t mean they’re thinking slowly. In fact, one of the reasons ADHDers might talk slowly is one of the same reasons they might talk quickly: they’re distracted by multiple different ideas that occur to them mid-sentence.

It might seem ironic that I’m writing a whole blog post explaining, in words, why people with ADHD sometimes struggle to put their thoughts into words. Actually, this is exactly the reason why writing can be a great mode of communication if you have ADHD.

When you’re writing, you have time to choose the best way to express your thoughts, and to do so at whatever pace is comfortable. Just like when I’m talking, sometimes I write quickly in a stream of words that comes out all at once, and sometimes I have to go back and write a sentence multiple times before it says what I want. But there’s no such thing as writing “too fast” or “too slow,” because in the end the reader will read at whatever speed they’re comfortable with!

Image: Flickr/David Goehring

Faster Talkers, Slow Talkers and ADHDers

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on education, learning disabilities and technology. He received his B.A. in 2014 and was diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of his college studies. Neil also works for a music education non-profit and hopes to help create an education system that can better serve students with ADHD.

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2019). Faster Talkers, Slow Talkers and ADHDers. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 8 Aug 2019
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