Occupational Therapy for ADHD

My son gets OT for ADHD. A psychologist recommended it when other treatments failed. In our first session, our professional specialist 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.

Occupational Therapy can cure ADHD. This therapy rule is focused on the concept of patience which kids with ADHD don't possess.
source: sciencedaily.com

Occupational Therapy Treatment Discussion

Following the third drawing during treatment was a pair of opened eyes. After that, it came with a drawing of closed lips.

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 and that’s because of his ADHD. 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. The occupational therapist told me to teach my child to “sit and wait” for 5 minutes at home – doing nothing, but just IT.

This occupational therapy rule is focused on the concept of patience which kids with ADHD don’t possess.

They have to understand that they can’t stand until the time is up. Also,  no asking when it’s done and no fidgeting, as well. They just have to wait it out. The number of treatment minutes has to increase each day until he learns to behave on his own without the need to prompt him.


“The Hand” rule means not to touch things especially if it’s not yours. 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.


Kids who have ADHD as a condition, before treatment and occupation therapy, cannot focus on a certain task at 100%.

But with “The Eyes” rule, they are being practiced on the concept of attentiveness.

Kids who have ADHD as a condition, before therapy and occupation treatment, cannot focus on a certain task at 100%.
source: pexels.com


“The Lips” rule is very simple – don’t 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.

Children with ADHD are excessive talkers and this treatment rule is one way to minimize that behavior.

This rule will also give time for the child to collect his thoughts, organize them in his mind and speak out when called upon or when it’s his turn to talk. Restraint is being practiced by the child and the rule will hone this skill.


Kids with ADHD don’t have the skill to listen intently. In order to treat this type of behavior using the treatment, the children are being taught the concept of listening – listen to your teacher, mom, dad, older siblings and etc. During the session, the child will learn to “listen” without the inattentive issues. That is “The Ears” rule.

As for my son, he is sometimes unable to finish his tasks or activities. It’s not that he doesn’t want to finish it. His fine and gross motor skills are delayed (he also has ASD) and that interferes with what he is doing.

With the “Finish Work” rule, he has to act accordingly and efficiently in order to complete his work.

“School–at least school as usually defined these days–is a place where you must concentrate on what you are told to concentrate on, no matter how tedious; follow the teachers’ directions, no matter how inane; complete assignments for the sheer purpose of completing them, even though they accomplish nothing useful; and, while doing all of that, control your emotions,” writes occupation treatment expert Peter Gray Ph.D.

At first, it was really difficult for him because of his impairment. But with his will to complete his task and as pushed by the occupation treatment rule, he was able to do the task.

Occupational Therapy

No Hitting In Occupational Therapy

When my boy gets frustrated, he hits his head on the wall or with his fists. This too was treated by an occupational therapy expert.

It made him understand that it’s ok to be frustrated at times. You just have to let it out vocally, instead of hitting your head. (He doesn’t do it anymore with just after 8 OT sessions.)

“Previous longitudinal studies have found a higher suicide rate in a sample of both men and women with ADHD. It is also one of the first studies that show a higher self-harm rate in women with ADHD,” writes expert Stephanie A. Sarkis Ph.D.

So, when he is angry or sad, he talks to me about it. The “No Hitting Head” treatment rule made him learn how to speak what he’s thinking and feeling like any normal person would do.

“The nonstop activity, 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.

don't interrupt a person while he is talking and wait for your turn to speak. Children with ADHD are excessive talkers and this treatment rule is one way to minimize that behavior.
source: kubanvseti.ru

Occupational Therapy

It was a very productive first occupational therapy session not only for my boy but also for me – I learned about RULES and why the treatment rules were necessary.

I needed to change the ways how I handled my son. Rules were truly needed for his behavioral modification.

After all that, I asked, “Teacher, what’s that “x” in the box? ”

“If your son breaks an occupational therapy rule, there will be an “x”. This “x” is his punishment like – no tv, no gadget, no dessert, no candy, no going out, no playing with new toys and etc. I need your help with enacting this rule at home. Will you do that?” our expert said.

Me? Can I punish my son for having ADHD? My heart cringed at that thought, but it needed to be done. I had to be strict. The occupational therapy rules must be implemented. He has to learn how to behave.

“Yes, I’ll do it.”

Final Thoughts On Occupational Treatment Therapy

Now, as I look at my son after occupational therapy sessions – rarely fidgets, sits down in class, includes himself in family conversations, has a toy-sharing older brother, and a whole lot more – I know I made the right decision to sign up for treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

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