The term attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) refers to a syndrome in which some combinations of impulsivity, attention problems, and hyperactivity are significant enough to cause difficulties in a child or adult’s life. To diagnose ADHD, the symptoms must cause significant distress and be present across different settings such as home and school. There are different types of ADHD: hyperactive-impulsive, inattentive and combined type.
Nutritional Factors in ADHD
Nutrition is an environmental influence that plays a role in ADHD. Over the last 20 years, nutritional standards have negatively shifted. Synthetic food colorings, preservatives, and chemicals that humans are not meant to consume have been found to increase hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattention. In occupational therapy at Mindful Child, we introduce children to mindful eating, which helps them to slow down and make healthier choices.
The brain is an organ that is divided into different sections, which are responsible for behavior, thought, and emotions.
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder, which means there are differences in the brains of individuals diagnosed with ADHD. The differences in the brain are threefold and include structure, function, and chemistry.
Chemistry. The ADHD brain has been shown to have an abnormal neural network. The key neurotransmitters for ADHD are noradrenaline and dopamine. Individuals with ADHD show a dysregulation of dopamine with either too much or too little.
Structure. A 2018 study showed structural differences in individuals with ADHD. The amygdala and hippocampus were smaller in the ADHD brains. These areas are responsible for emotional regulation and impulse control.
Function. Scientists measure function through several types of imaging. In ADHD, there is a decrease in blood flow in the prefrontal areas, which indicates less brain activity. The prefrontal areas control executive function.
ADHD and Occupational Therapy in Prairie Village
Occupational therapy at Mindful Child Wellness is a brain-based, integrated approach designed to help children be healthier, happier and stress-free. To begin occupational therapy your child will need an initial evaluation by Dr. Tracy and one of our occupational therapists. This allows us to develop a customized treatment plan based on the data collected at the assessment. The plan addresses any weaknesses or concerns you may have with your child’s development. We specialize in helping children struggling with ADHD and work to treat the root of the problem, not the symptoms. Our whole-child approach uses neuro-sensory-motor exercises with mindfulness, healthy eating, and an at home exercise plan to strengthen the brain and body.
Science is still evolving and doesn’t have all the answers, however we do know that ADHD is a complex condition with many possible causes and and factors influencing the severity of symptoms. ADHD has multiple functional and structural neural network abnormalities. Occupational therapy should include brain-based modalities to successfully treat ADHD.
Join Our Mindful Child Program Today
Have questions about how occupational therapy can help with ADHD? Email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for a trial class to meet Dr. Tracy and learn more about how Mindful Child Wellness + Aerial Yoga can improve your child’s wellbeing.
Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders | Executive Function Deficits in Adolescents With ADHD: Untangling Possible Sources of Heterogeneity
Albajara Sáenz A, Villemonteix T, Massat I. Structural and functional neuroimaging in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2019 Apr;61(4):399-405. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.14050. Epub 2018 Oct 1. PMID: 30276811.