Occupational Therapy for ADHD: How Therapy Can Help Children

  • May 18, 2017
A young boy smiling with a chalkboard in a classroom.

ADHD is a common problem with many children. Once their child is diagnosed by a pediatrician or other medial professional, many parents may have trouble deciding on the best course of treatment.

Occupational therapy is a popular, effective line of treatment for many children with ADHD. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is ADHD?

Short for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects between 1% and 7% of children. ADHD usually presents in children before the age of 6.

Specific symptoms will vary according to the individual, their particular subtype, and their particular circumstances, but typical symptoms of the disorder include:

  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Difficulty with impulse control and behavioral issues
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Excessive fidgeting and/or squirming
  • Excessive talking
  • Hyperactivity or an inability to sit still or focus on a single task

These symptoms often cause problems with performance in school, difficulty socializing, and disciplinary issues.

Children with ADHD are also more likely to have poor handwriting, delays in speech and language development, anxiety and mood disorders, and more.

What Is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) describes a variety of treatments and techniques rooted in anatomy and physiology, neurology, psychology, sensory and motor development. OT aims to help develop, recover, or maintain the skills needed for the activities (or “occupations”) of daily life.

Fine motor development, visual perception skills, sensory processing skills, motor planning, handwriting, executive functioning (organization, attention, sequencing, initiation), and sustaining attention to age-appropriate tasks are all areas that pediatric occupational therapy can work to improve in children.

How an Occupational Therapist Can Help Children with ADHD

While there are many treatment options for children with ADHD, many of them, especially drug treatments, are controversial.

Most experts agree that the first line of treatment should be in the form of behavioral therapy strategies like occupational therapy, especially in cases involving mild symptoms or young children.

What can an occupational therapist do for children with ADHD? Occupational therapists are able to:

  • Evaluate a child to determine how ADHD is affecting their daily life at home, school, or at play
  • Recommend a course of therapy to address the physical, behavioral, or emotional needs of each individual child
  • Use sensory integration and other techniques to help children block out environmental distractions and learn the self-regulation skills needed for executive functioning.

Learn More about Pediatric Occupational Therapy in Connecticut

If you’re in Connecticut and interested in learning more about occupational therapy for ADHD or other conditions, contact Cheshire Fitness Zone today.

With convenient locations in both Cheshire and Meriden, Cheshire Fitness Zone offers numerous therapeutic programs to meet the individual needs of every patient. Get in touch to learn more or make an appointment.

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