Occupational Therapy for Children With ADHD
ADHD can affect almost every part of a child's life. It's harder for kids with ADHD to do things like:
Focus in school
Get along with their peers
Even everyday tasks, like getting dressed or
doing chores, can become more difficult.
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ADHD or Not? Why a Diagnosis Matters
For many children with ADHD, a call from a teacher was the first time their parents started discussing the possibility of ADHD.
"The vast majority of cases are brought to the attention of parents by educators, either at the preschool level or elementary school level," says George DuPaul, PhD, of Lehigh University. He has a background in school psychology, with a special interest in ADHD.
But even though teachers spend the entire day watching kids' behavior, "sometimes they're right and sometimes...
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Medicine and therapy can help
kids with ADHD keep up in school and control their problem behaviors. Yet these treatments may not cover every issue.
Taking a pill won't necessarily help kids take a shower, organize their backpack, or make their bed.
For help with everyday skills, as well as inattention and other
ADHD behaviors, you might want to get help for your child from an occupational therapist.
What Is an Occupational Therapist?
An occupational therapist or "OT" helps
kids with ADHD improve certain skills such as:
Efficiency in everyday tasks
Occupational therapists typically have a master's degree. They are certified in their field and licensed in the state where they practice.
An occupational therapist might work in a hospital, clinic, or private practice. Some occupational therapists are based at a school.
How to Find an Occupational Therapist
To find a qualified occupational therapist in your area, you can check with the American Occupational Therapy Association. Or you can call a hospital in your area that offers occupational therapy.
Frequently your child's doctor will have a list of good OTs in your area.
When you're in the process of picking an OT, ask these questions:
What kind of training do you have?
Are you certified and licensed to practice in this state?
Are you specifically trained in pediatric occupational therapy or just OT?
How much experience do you have working with kids who have ADHD?
How will you evaluate my child?
What treatment goals do you recommend?
What types of therapy will your program involve?
The occupational therapist you choose should focus on your child's needs and listen to your concerns. Make sure you're comfortable with the therapist before you start the evaluation process.
The Occupational Therapy Session
The first thing the therapist does is evaluate your child. This is usually done with input from you and your child's teachers.