What is ADHD: Attention deficit hyperactive disorder?
ADHD is a Disruptive Behavior Disorder characterized by the presence of a set of chronic and impairing behavior patterns that display abnormal levels of inattention, hyperactivity, or their combination. Inattention or Hyperactivity-Impulsivity Behavior has persisted for at least six months and to such a degree that it is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level often in such cases occupational therapy has a pertinent role to play.

Three Types of ADHD are identified:

  • ADHD, Combined Type – Individual displays both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms.
  • ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type - Symptoms are primarily related to inattention. Individual does not display significant hyperactive/impulsive behaviors.
  • ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type – Symptoms are primarily related to hyperactivity and impulsivity. Individual does not display significant attention problems.

Following are the signs of hyperactivity-impulsivity and in attention:

  • Feeling restless, often fidgeting with hands or feet, or squirming while seated
  • Running, climbing, or leaving a seat in situations where sitting or quiet behavior is expected
  • Blurting out answers before hearing the whole question
  • Having difficulty waiting in line or taking turns.
  • Often becoming easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds
  • Often failing to pay attention to details and making careless mistakes
  • Rarely following instructions carefully and completely losing or forgetting things like toys, or pencils, books, and tools needed for a task
  • Often skipping from one uncompleted activity to another.
  • Children diagnosed with the Predominantly Inattentive Type of ADHD are seldom impulsive or hyperactive, yet they have significant problems paying attention.
  • They appear to be daydreaming, "spacey," easily confused, slow moving, and lethargic.
  • They may have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as other children.
  • When the teacher gives oral or even written instructions, this child has a hard time understanding what he or she is supposed to do and makes frequent mistakes.
  • Yet the child may sit quietly, unobtrusively, and even appear to be working but not fully attending to or understanding the task and the instructions.

Will Occupational therapy really help my child with ADHD, if yes how?

Occupational therapy is a scientific discipline which is purely evidence based, it is a field which has medical legitimacy. Having a scientific base, all the therapy procedures are research based and practiced by efficient professionals thus certainly have a significant impact on rehabilitation of the child. Therapy sessions are designed in such a way that child comprehends social behaviors, adapts to his/her surroundings and overcome the emotional; behavioral issues all through an activity session. Along with this therapists, lay a significant emphasis on designing and planning the activities for child in such a way that the levels of activity of the child (which are too high in case of ADHD) are managed.

What if my child has behavioral issues along with ADHD? Can occupational therapy help?
Behavior management is most often used with younger children with ADHD, but it can be used in adolescents up to 18 years old and even adults. There are varied types of children behavior which they exhibit at different ages of their life time. Some of these are socially inappropriate. Such behaviors surely have an underlying cause and can be traced after a thorough assessment of the child. Once the cause of the behavior is determined it becomes easy for the therapist to help the child come out of such behavior or at times minimize such behaviors to negligible. Occupational therapists use behavior modification techniques in order to overcome behavioral issues in children. With the regular therapy sessions, behavioral problems can be significantly managed.

In children and adolescents, the two basic principles are:

  • Modeling behavior by encouraging good behavior with healthy praise or rewards. This works best if the reward or praise immediately follows the positive behavior.
  • Negatively reinforcing bad behavior by allowing appropriate consequences to occur naturally.

There are three basic categories or levels of  ADHD  behavioral training for children:

  • Parent training in effective child behavior management methods.
  • Classroom behavior modification techniques and academic interventions.
  • Special educational placement.

My child has handwriting problems, can Occupational therapy help?

Handwriting problems have various causes behind them such as-poor penmanship, developmental delays, physical illness or deformity, lack of interest, disorientation, etc. Occupational therapy helps the child to overcome/manage the deformity, gives suitable advice to enhance penmanship, improves on perceptual deficits, (if any), and helps in adapting suitable materials (grippers, etc.) to overcome writing difficulties. Along with this regular encouragement and reinforcements are used in order to foster positive behavior in terms of handwriting, which largely helps the child in many ways.