What is it?
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a persistent pattern of inattention and or hyperactivity-impulsivity that is more frequent and severe then typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development.
What are the features of it?
In addition to inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, associated features may include low frustration tolerance, temper outbursts, bossiness, stubbornness and poor self esteem.
Common challenges experienced by those with ADD/ADHD:
- Difficulty attending to task.
- Being fidgety, with hands or feet, or squirms in the seat, leaves the classroom seat when they should be seated, etc.
- Slowness to complete tasks.
- Rushing tasks.
- Difficulty settling to task.
- Missing details or makes careless mistakes in school-work or other activities.
- Having trouble organising tasks and activities.
- Losing things needed for tasks or activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books).
- Having trouble sticking to tasks or play activities.
- Not appearing to listen when spoken to directly.
- Failure to follow through instructions that he/she is able to understand, and does not finish tasks (e.g. at school or chores at home).
- Avoiding tasks/activities that require a lot of thinking and concentrating (as these are hard work and tiring).
- Being easily distracted.
- Being forgetful in daily activities.
- Runs about or climbs excessively (more than most other children).
- Has trouble playing quietly.
- Is continually 'on the go'.
- Talks 'all the time'.
- Blurts out answers before the questions have been completed.
- Has difficulty awaiting their turn.
- Interrupts conversation or games.
Management strategies that support the child with ADD/ADHD (at pre-school/school or home):
- Short tasks only.
- Break tasks into smaller component tasks.
- Provide break during and between tasks.
- Provide explicit step by step instructions.
- Use of simple language that is concise.
- Allow longer timeframes in which to complete tasks.
- Have regular exercise and physical activity breaks throughout the day.
- ‘Chunking’ tasks into smaller, manageable components.
Occupational Therapy approaches and activities that can support the individual or their carers include:
- Developing areas of weakness (subsequent to inattention).
- Developing increased concentration to task.
- Strategies to ‘slow down’ task performance.
- Use visuals to aid in attention.
- Application of the ‘Engine’ program to enhance self awareness of one’s attention levels, and strategies that can be used to alter them.
- Visual cues (visual lists) outlining step by step instructions, and tasks to be completed.
- Task analysis and simplification.
- Simple repetitive tasks.