ADHD: Occupational Therapy

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 can cure ADHD. This rule is focused on the concept of patience which kids with ADHD don't possess.

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.

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


“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.

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. Cute little girl with colorful hair pins

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. Thus, working with occupational therapists allows individuals to consider job opportunities for adults with ADHD.

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.