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ADHD – Role of Occupational therapy

Occupational Therapy (OT) for ADHD –

Occupational Therapy with Sensory Integration is a vital cog of this wheel with its role, benefits and limitations well defined.

As its name indicates, Occupational Therapy is a form of rehabilitation; its express role is to enable the child to overcome his/her physical functional deficiencies. Hence, sitting tolerance, hyperactivity, restlessness, impulsivity, distractibility, fine motor control, grip, handwriting (form, shape, orientation and presentation of written material), eye—hand coordination, etc. are the domains which it encompasses.

ADHD kids, preferably refer to an occupational therapist for their attention and hyperactivity issues. These symptoms of ADHD kids restrict them to involve him in a functional and meaningful task. Occupational therapist generally administers sensory integration technique in these kids for a better outcome. By using sensory integration technique, OT helps them to calm down and focus on an activity.

Many children with ADHD will also have sensory processing disorders and this can contribute to their inability to pay attention, focus and concentrate. These children will either withdraw from or seek sensory stimulation like movement, touch, bright light, busy rooms and loud noises and do not engage appropriately in an activity as expected. An Occupational therapist may accompany sensory integration along with the activities, for better results. ADHD kids have many issues in daily living task like donning and doffing of the shirt, buttoning-unbuttoning, and other fine motor skills.

Occupational therapy Assessment–

Before applying any sensory strategies, OT will assess into all sensory problems and other issues, generally OTist check for these things–

Sensory Issues like defensiveness or seeking behavior.
Organizational skills or abilities.
Distractibility and Impulsivity.
Following of command.
Difficulty in turn taking.
Difficulty in organized group activity.
Seating tolerance.
Gross motor coordination
Fine motor coordination
Visual memory and other visual perceptual skills.
Occupational therapy management –

Some OTist exclusively use only sensory integration technique, and some use functional approach. I would feel better with a multi model approach.

Sensory techniques-

These kids have more energy and hyperactivity, first goal would be to decrease hyperactivity by calming them. It’s very important that, they should understand what we are saying and understand the command. If they are hyperactive and impulsive, they won’t listen and follow us.

Sensory integration techniques are useful to calming them and help to channelize the excess amount of energy.

Calming him – when the child enters the room we roll him up in a mat and give him deep pressure with a ball. While this is done, we settle him using the light music/ essence of lavender or vanilla and by dimming the lights. We then put weight cuffs on his hands and put him in a bolster swing where we give him an activity while giving gentle unidirectional movements. We make him sit on a chair and do table top activities and writing activities.

Channelizing Energy – As the child enters the room we give him bouncing on the trampoline, we can also combine another activity of catching and throwing a ball while bouncing. We make climb the children’s gym or ladder. Running or cycling helps him to channelize extra energy.

You can try some relaxation techniques here.

Teach them organizational skills –

Many parents and teacher thinks about, how to teach organizational skills to ADHD kids, they are so impulsive, they just throw things here and there.
Our first approach should be to Encourage and Support them.They are very easily distracted and impatience.
Give them enough time to think and respond.
Always ask them to organize things, if they don’t get it, first you have to make them understand by doing yourself. When they see the correct sequencing pattern, they may repeat it successfully.
Always provide them a demo of a task and your demo should be slowly progressing with minimal verbal cues. (Too much verbal cues during one task, may distract them, instead use less and more meaningful 2-3 words).

Participation in activities –
Initially, provide them activities which are simple, just to increase their self esteem and confidence.
You may encourage them in participating in sports activities; it will help them to improve self-confidence, self discipline, social skills, motor development and concentration.
Initially, provide them activities for a short time.
Encourage the child to finish a task.
Provide some resting period, e.g. allow the child to stand up and go drink water.

Restructuring of home environment or school setting–
Minimize visual and auditory stimuli–
Reduce clutter – in both the rooms and on the desk. No other visually stimulating things like fancy balls.
Restrict visual fields – It’s better to keep desk in the corner of a room, facing towards the corner.
Paint your wall with sober colors.
Play low calming music, many children’s responds well in this setting but not all.
Speak or instruct them in a calm voice.
Sit next to him, provide verbal or physical clues if he needs.

for more info.. Occupational therapy for ADHD kids

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