ADHD Occupational Therapy Sydney

What is it?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a group of behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. ADHD is characterised primarily by inattention, easy distractibility, disorganisation, procrastination, forgetfulness and lethargy or fatigue. Symptoms usually show before the age of seven. It is most common in school-age children.

ADHD is a chronic disorder, meaning that it affects an individual throughout life. The symptoms are also pervasive, meaning they occur in multiple settings, rather than just one.

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What are some signs or symptoms of ADHD?

Current research supports the idea of two distinct characteristics of ADHD, inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity. A child with these characteristics typically demonstrates the following signs:

Many of the symptoms of ADHD occur from time to time in all children. However, children with ADHD display a much greater frequency of the symptoms and their lives are significantly impaired with their friendships and school work being affected. These difficulties must occur across different settings for the symptoms to be classified as ADHD.

Treatment for individuals with ADHD usually involves a combination of medication, behaviour modification, learning coping techniques, lifestyle changes and counselling. Many children with ADHD will also have sensory processing disorders and this can contribute to their inability to pay attention, focus and concentrate.

Children with ADHD often have difficulties with their fine motor, cognitive and play development which affects their participation, academic and social success at home, preschool/school and extracurricular activities. Children with ADHD benefit from Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy to assist develop these skill areas. School readiness activities are often important in order to ensure that your child has the best start to school.

How is ADHD diagnosed?

ADHD is diagnosed by the child’s doctor. A physician will work with the family and student to prescribe medication, if needed, to help with attention. If medication is prescribed, the SLP will work with the family and other professionals to observe the student’s pre- and post-medication behavior.

As part of the educational team, the SLP will communicate with the family and physician regarding any post-medication behavioural changes.

The physician will use these observations to adjust dosage, the time medications are administered, and which medication is used.

The SLP, along with other team members, will work with the teacher to change the classroom environment as needed (e.g., sitting the student in the front of the classroom, having the student repeat directions before following them, using checklists and other visual organisers to help with planning and follow-through).

Many professionals are often involved with children with ADHD. These professionals include:

What you can do

When symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity or impulsiveness are significantly affecting a child’s ability to learn and to complete activities of daily living, then a diagnosis and intervention should be sought.

Our therapists are happy to conduct an assessment and begin intervention as required. We can help you determine whether your child would benefit from occupational therapy, speech therapy, or both. Be sure to speak with your child’s teachers and carers to gather information about any concerns they may have as this will help prioritise therapy intervention goals.

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What Therapies for Kids can do

Following a full assessment of your child’s individual differences in motor skills, play, learning, organisation, planning and their sensory process your therapists will develop goals and a therapy plan with you.

Specific speech and language patterns vary from child to child with ADHD. For example, some children with ADHD also have learning disabilities that affect their speech and language. Evaluation of each child’s individual speech and language ability is critical to developing an appropriate treatment plan.

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