A brave mother like me, who has a child on the spectrum, would definitely join seminars like the 2017 ADHD Summit. I was just so happy when I learned from a cousin who studies at UVU (Utah Valley University) that their College of Humanities and Social Sciences has created this event, featuring a Pulitzer Prize winner as a keynote speaker to talk about ADHD. And to top it all off, the speaker who is an award-winning writer is managing ADHD herself.
Trying To Accept The Fact That My Son Has ADHD (And How I Was Able To Help Him Just In Time!)
“There is nothing wrong with my son! Who are you to tell me that there is something wrong with him – that he lacks focus, is inattentive and very hyperactive? He is just five years old! All kids are like that! How dare you isolate my boy like that!”
That was me a year ago and I was speaking with my son’s Kindergarten teacher. She was telling me that my boy has difficulty reading because he is easily distracted and can’t focus on school lessons. She also mentioned that he fidgets all the time and that my son is very hyperactive.
Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is believed to affect between five and ten percent of the population. The condition appears to be hereditary. Over thirty percent of children diagnosed with ADHD have a parent who has the condition. Normally, it is the child’s teacher that picks up the behavioral problems associated with ADHD. Approximately three times as many boys as girls are diagnosed with ADHD, but this may be partly due to symptoms going unnoticed in girls, as they tend to be less disruptive. Girls with ADHD will, however, have the same academic and social problems as boys.
Children with ADHD have difficulty socializing. Undiagnosed or untreated ADHD can have serious consequences including parental conflict, substance abuse, depression and anxiety and learning disabilities. Fortunately, in the case of substance abuse, there are professionals who can help people with addiction.
Many adults believe that Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral problem caused by permissive parents or misbehaved children. This is however not the case, according to the National Resource Centre on ADHD no strong evidence exists connecting bad parenting with ADHD. Although circumstances and parenting styles can mitigate or aggravate the behavioral problems, the cause of ADHD is thought to be a combination of genes and environmental factors. Shirin Hasan, MD further says that, “ADHD is not caused by too much screen time, poor parenting, or eating too much sugar.” Diet was once also considered a possible cause, but most of the suspected dietary causes have been ruled out.
ADHD sufferers have a problem with the way the neurotransmitters in their brains work. Neurotransmitters are chemicals in the brain that make it possible for nerve cells to communicate with one another. In ADHD sufferers, there are insufficient neurotransmitters in the area of the brain that are responsible for regulating attention and behavior.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my brother very much. He is such a darling when he wants to and I’m just a regular older sister who wants to “understand” him. But there are times when I just can’t. He is super inattentive. I talk to him and tell him what needs to be done, but he just drifts away. He doesn’t listen to me or maybe, his ADHD deters from him from doing so.
Though you may not always realize it, our much-loved children are often stressed and might need some help with, especially with the lifestyle that we are living in this modern world. It is affecting young ladies just as much as for young boys. However, because girls seem to be able to handle it a bit better, people think that girls are coping a lot better than boys. This isn’t true at all. And, it is vitally important that you teach your children—especially young ladies—some coping mechanisms to ensure that they are learning how to cope better while they are growing up. Here are some tips on how you can teach these coping mechanisms to girls and even boys:
Teaching them at a young age to cope
Coping mechanisms are being taught at a young age by professional counselors. The sooner and younger they get to learn how to cope with life and the stresses that come with it, will make them enjoy their lives a lot better. Continue reading “Coping Mechanisms for Young Ladies”
When it comes to ADHD and how to control anger, it is known that this is a problem among boys. However, there are some girls who are struggling with ADHD as well. However, because they are girls, they aren’t always seen in the same light and aren’t getting the same treatment. There are a couple of things that you should know about ADHD in young girls so that you understand how this problem could be affecting them as well. Here is some vital information about girls and ADHD that every parent of an ADHD girl should know about:
They often don’t have the behavior problems like with boys
One of the main reasons why boys are often diagnosed with ADHD as opposed to girls is because the boys have more behavioral disorders than girls. What’s more, they struggle more with how to control anger.
“For many girls with ADHD, paying attention to the task at hand is their biggest challenge. They can get distracted by external events or drift off into a world of their own. For example, a bird outside a classroom window may take attention away from something more important in their environment, like a teacher announcing the date of an upcoming exam,” shares Joel Forman, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine and public health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Put simply, this means that boys have far more problems with behavior and controlling themselves than with girls. Most often, you will have more trouble controlling a boy with ADHD than a girl. This seems to be the key reason why people claim that more boys than girls are affected with ADHD as it is more obvious. As a result, most girls are going untreated with the disease. Continue reading “ADHD in Young Girls”
Let me tell you about ADHD and how it is related to OT. My son gets OT for ADHD. An occupational therapist recommended it for a person’s health and rehabilitation when other treatments failed.
In our first session, our occupational therapist from the American Occupational Therapy Association invited me inside this playroom with a whiteboard filled with drawings and words. The first drawing I saw on the board was a chair. Next, another drawing was a hand with five fingers. Following the third drawing during the treatment plan was a pair of opened eyes. After that, it came with a drawing of closed lips. I read that this was part of the initial patient evaluations in the occupational therapy process as part of patient health care.
Occupational Therapy For Mental Health Challenges
Next, I saw a drawing of ears. After the drawings, there were phrases that said “FINISH WORK”, “NO HITTING HEAD” and lastly, “NO SLAPPING, GRABBING, PUSHING”. Besides the eight occupational therapy rules, there were three boxes and one of those boxes had an “x” mark.
On top of the board, it said, “8 OCCUPATION THERAPY RULES FOR MICHAEL.”
Sit And Wait
My son is extremely hyperactive because of his ADHD, which is considered a mental illness. I know that now. And one way to control a child with excess energy is “The Chair,” wherein they have to sit and wait for a few minutes in the clinics. The occupational therapist told me to teach my child to “sit and wait” for 5 minutes at home – doing nothing, but just IT. It was to be included as one of his everyday activities.
“The Hand” rule means not to touch things, especially if it’s not yours. In the occupational therapy setting, kids with ADHD don’t understand the concept of boundaries and would grab anything that has their interest. They won’t even ask permission to borrow a certain thing, and that behavior needs to be curbed. This is part of their mental illness.
Kids who have ADHD as a condition, before treatment and occupation therapy, cannot focus on a certain task at 100%. This is really a mental health challenge for them. So many occupational therapists try to incorporate tasks within their everyday activities that involve attentiveness.
“The Lips” rule is very simple – training them not to talk when inside the classroom and while the teacher is speaking. On the same platform, don’t interrupt a person while he is talking, and wait for your turn to speak.
Kids with ADHD don’t have the skill to listen intently. In order to treat this type of behavior, the children are being taught the concept of listening – listen to your teacher, mom, dad, older siblings etc. During the session, the child will learn to “listen” without inattentive issues. That is “The Ears” rule.
“The nonstop leisure activities, impulsive actions, and more frequent aggressiveness of children with the hyperactive or combined types of ADHD are obvious sources of annoyance to peers. They are more likely than other children to argue and start fights,” notes expert Eileen Kennedy-Moore Ph.D.
Occupational Therapy Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Main Purpose Of Occupational Therapy?
The purpose of occupational therapy (OT) is to aid people of all ages to practice daily tasks and provide meaningful activities that are important to them. Occupational Therapists (Ots) focus on improving functional abilities, promoting independence, and improving overall quality of life.
What Is The Difference Between Physical Therapy And Occupational Therapy?
The primary focus of Physical Therapy (PT) is to help restore and improve physical function, mobility, and strength. This is done by targeting specific body parts or systems through specific exercises, mobility, stretching, etc. Occupational therapy, on the other hand, addresses a much broader range of activities, as it includes daily living skills, including self-care work, leisure, and social participation. The goal of occupational therapy is to help patients adapt and overcome challenges by engaging in activities.
What Conditions Do Occupational Therapy Assistants Treat?
Occupational therapy assistants work under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist. The occupational therapy assistants help treat a variety of conditions, including orthopedic injuries, neurological conditions (traumatic brain injury, stroke, etc.), developmental disorders, age-related conditions (arthritis, dementia, etc.), and mental health conditions.
Why Would A Child Need Occupational Therapy?
Children with difficulties in sensory processing, fine motor skills, self-care tasks (feeding, dressing, etc.), attention and focus problems, social skills, or developmental delays may need occupational therapy to support their development, improve their skills, and boost their ability to participate in daily activities, especially school tasks.
Is Occupational Therapy Hard To Study?
As with other fields, the difficulty in studying occupational therapy depends on the individual’s specific circumstances and personal aptitude. Programs typically require a strong foundation in science and healthcare-related subjects, as well as hands-on clinical experience. As with other fields in healthcare, it requires hard work, dedication, and passion for helping others.
What Is The Highest-Paying Occupational Therapy Job?
The highest-paying occupational therapy job varies widely from different factors, including specialization, experience, work setting, and of course, geographical location. Some high-paying options in the field of occupational therapy are in specialized areas, such as mental health, geriatrics, and hand therapy. Thus, pursuing advanced certifications or becoming a faculty member of an occupational therapy program is a good career choice.
Why Is Occupational Therapy Not Well Known?
Compared to other healthcare professions, occupational therapy is not as well-known, primarily due to historical reasons and the lack of public awareness. However, the field has been growing in both importance and recognition in the past few years, as the efficacy of its approach and the benefits of its methods have improved more and more people’s lives.
What Type Of Patients Do Occupational Therapists See?
Occupational therapists see patients across the lifespan, from newborns to older adults. They work with people who have a wide range of conditions, including but not limited to physical injuries, disabilities, neurological disorders, developmental delays, chronic illnesses, age-related conditions, and even mental health conditions. Occupational therapists tailor their approach and interventions based on the specific needs and goals of each patient.
Who Would Benefit From Occupational Therapy?
People suffering from developmental delays, physical disabilities, recovering from injuries, neurological disorders, mental health conditions, cerebral palsy, and even chronic illnesses would definitely benefit from occupational therapy. An occupational therapist provides support in improving the daily function, independence, and well-being of the patient.
How Do I Know If I Need OT?
If you are experiencing challenges or limitations in your daily activities, such as doing self-care routines, performing work-related tasks, or simply participating in meaningful activities in life due to physical, mental, or emotional difficulties, then you may need to consult an occupational therapist. An occupational therapy professional can provide treatment plans to help you live out your daily life, even continuing education or assistance.
Occupational therapists can assess your specific needs and help determine whether the therapy would be beneficial for you.
How Do Occupational Therapies Support People?
Occupational therapy supports people in so many ways by addressing their specific needs and goals. Occupational therapists work using a holistic approach to develop or regain skills, implement strategies to improve their ability to engage in daily activities and promote independence, adapt to their environment, and more importantly, improve overall function and quality of life.
Is OT Meaningful?
Occupational therapy focuses on helping the specific needs of the individual. By addressing their physical, psychological, emotional, and environmental circumstances, OTs can support and help bring joy, fulfillment, a sense of independence, and purpose to anyone’s life. Therapists work closely with their patients using health science concepts to ensure an improved quality of life.
Does This Kind Of Treatment Improve Quality Of Life?
Yes, absolutely. OT has been shown to improve the quality of life for many people. By focusing on improving functional abilities, promoting independence, and addressing the barriers that keep people from participating in their daily life activities, OT can help people achieve greater autonomy, meaning, and a sense of well-being.
How Long Should Occupational Therapy Last?
The duration of this type of therapy varies depending on the specific needs and goals of the patient. It can range from a few sessions (sessions to address the specific issues) to several months or even longer (for more complex conditions and goals).
Occupational therapy is a goal-oriented therapeutic approach. OTs and clients will regularly review the progress and adjust accordingly to meet the treatment plan as needed.
Is Occupational Therapy Proven?
Yes, countless studies by the Occupational Therapy Association have demonstrated the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions, specifically in improving functional outcomes and improving the quality of life of patients. This is because the practice involves addressing a wide range of conditions and continuously evaluating and adapting interventions based on the latest evidence to give the clients the best possible care. The therapy association also updates its techniques as best as possible.
When the Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrician told me a year ago that my son has ADHD, I was relieved. I had that feeling all along and it was a thorn off my chest to get that validation from a specialist. At least, I don’t have to speculate anymore. I used to answer people with an “I don’t know. I’m not sure. Still waiting for our appointment to come.” And they would say – “I really think he has ADHD. His behavior is not normal.” I would just roll my eyes.