ADHD · Therapy

Why OT as ADHD Therapy?

Have you ever had a pair of shoes that you LOVED!?  The fit, the style, everything was perfect but they were loved so much that they lost their sparkle.  Maybe you take them to a cobbler or bust out that shoe polish and start buffing away until they regain their shine.

Occupational Therapist, Cobbler to the Mind

Pickles received a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder before her ADHD diagnosis.  I remember thinking it was so odd that she would often go through a room running her hand over multiple surfaces.  She would even step on toys or other items on the floor intentionally.  I couldn’t wrap my brain around it.

We were sent to an Occupational Therapist (OT) and at first I was very skeptical.  How were swings, crash pads and playdoh going to help my daughter?  My mommy instints told me there was something going on neurologically and she needed help…not a glorified playdate.

Why OT as ADHD Therapy- (2)
Thinking like a cobbler can help your kiddo shine

But, I kept coming back mostly because she loved it but I also got a sense that this place and her amazing OT finally understood her.  They saw that beautiful and perfect shoe that needed to be buffed.  A few more crashes into the foam pit or dives into the rice box would give her vestibular system that feedback it was desperately craving.

Vestibular? Sensory Integration Therapy? What Does All this Mean?

The first time I walked into the run down but very loved home that housed the Occupational Therapy facility I was overwhelmed with new vocabulary.  Next week I will explore these terms further.  But, I am here to tell you to trust the system!  If you suspect that your son or daughter might have sensory issues seek out an Occupational Therapist in your area and start polishing.

What is your expierince with Occupational Therapy?

Comment below and share your thoughts

Therapy

Natural Remedies for ADHD, Do they Work?

If you do a google search for ADHD, half the results will come back with some natural treatment.  Do these really work?  I am more of a show me the scientifical proof mom than let’s kneel by our bed and prey type…but to each their own.  I’m making no judgements here.  The truth is we all want what’s best for our loved ones but the myriad of options is dizzying (and who has the time or patience to try it all) so I thought I would share with you a few things that have worked in our house.

Dietary Supplements

As if ADHD isn’t difficult enough to manage, one of the top natural remedies is making a change to their diets.  I will go into our experience more on diet changes in another post because it’s too much to get into here.  One school of thought is to address the deficiencies in the brain through vitamins and supplements.  Let’s focus on dietary supplements. My daughter currently takes this multivitamin with Omega 3  and an iron supplement.  We have discussed supplements with Pickles (not her real name) doctors and visited a nutritionist.

In my research the evidence for adding dietary supplements is all over the place.  In reality despite my best efforts I know my kids are not eating the perfect diet.  For example, I try (and try and try) to get them to eat seafood but it is mostly met with groans.  The vitamins insure that they are getting their daily minimum of the nutrients that some studies suggest may be beneficial to alleviating the symptoms of ADHD.  At our last visit to the psychiatrist, she mentioned some new studies showing improvement in ADHD with a supplement, Vayarin.  We still were not convinced that it was the right choice for Pickles because there are risks; for example an increase in Omega 3 could cause high cholesterol.  We will wait on this one for now but I will keep on top of the latest research.

 

Let’s Get Social

As a new parent I believed my children would naturally pick up social skills as my husband and I modeled good behavior.  Of course I expected the normal bumps in the road like when they didn’t keep their hands and feet to themselves or continually interrupted my conversations.  It wasn’t until a doctor had told us that Pickles had sensory issues that I began to understand that social skills had to be taught at a whole other level to kids with developmental delays.  

Eye contact was too intense for her but it gave off the vibe that she wasn’t listening to others in conversations.  When she was in preschool and early elementary school she struggled with defining personal space.  Pickles still struggles with interrupting my conversations but she has finally conquered the skill of raising her hand in class before shouting out the answer.  I was doing everything I read about in parenting books and it wasn’t working.  So when I first heard about Social Skills training I was eager to get Pickles started.

I have heard the arguments that social skills training doesn’t work because it doesn’t resolve the issue of brain delays (knowing what to do but then acting upon that knowledge). Yep, that definitely makes things a whole lot harder.  What this training did for us was give us the vocabulary and resources to talk about it.  Pickles attended Social Thinking classes for a summer and worked with our school counselor but they are several options out there.  The summer classes were a big time commitment and I worried that working with the school counselor would label her as a “different” kid.  Boy was I wrong! I couldn’t be more thrilled that we invested the time and effort into social skills training.  Yes, she still struggles with social skills but today she is a very well adjusted 4th grade girl (in my oh so biased opinion).

 

Parent Training (really??)

Yep, really!  I put off signing up for an ADHD parenting course for quite some time (5 years to be exact).  I had watched a few webinars on CHADD but felt that I was already drowning in doctor’s appointments and all the other duties I had to keep up with this special breed of parenting.  I was interested but just couldn’t find the time.  Unlike other natural remedies, parent training had nothing but rave reviews in my research.

What finally changed my mind was that I finally reached a breaking point.  Our house had become a battleground because of the chaos ADHD had caused.  I had been doing my best to prepare for battle but the parent training was the one piece of ammunition I was missing.  I want to do all I can to create a happy and successful life for my family and if taking a few hours to train myself to be a better parent is what it takes.  Sign me up!

A god place to start is Deborah over at Raisingtheblinds.com.  She is about to launch a free email course, “ADHD Superparents: 5 Days to a Calmer Home” and currently is offering one on one coaching sessions.

 

Finding Peace with our Inner Yogi

Winding down at the end of the day is a struggle for Pickles.  In fact as soon as the words “it’s time to get ready for bed” leave my lips it’s almost like she’s downed a few shots of espresso.  One thing that has consistently worked for us is white noise.  The white noise helps to eliminate audible distractions and focus her mind on sleep.

We have also used a guided sleep meditation app.  This worked amazing until Pickles realized she could just grab my ipad (that was running the mediation app) and start perusing the internet.  Can someone please create an app that will run the sleep meditation exercises but lock out all other functions on the device??

I know there are lots of natural ADHD remedies out there and the list above barely scratches the surface.  These are the ones that have worked for us.  Every person diagnosed with ADHD is different.  What works for us may not work for you but please comment below and share with me your successes or failures.  We are all in this together.

ADHD · Therapy

How our Dog Became Therapy for ADHD

All I Want for Christmas

It’s kind of a classic Christmas wish right? Well 2 years ago guess what was on the top of my daughter’s list? Yep, a puppy. The thought of adding another creature to my already chaotic house was more than I could process. I was already drowning with the responsibility of parenting an ADHD kiddo, a preschooler and attempting to be a good (or at least understanding wife) of an ADHD husband. Why would I even entertain the idea of adding more to my plate?

Yes, her begging was insistent and of course I wanted to make her Christmas wish come true but the reason I finally caved had a lot more to do with her ADHD. At the time Pickles (not her real name) was in 2nd grade. She was struggling socially. She had a few friends at school but she rarely received an invitation for a playdate. It hurt so much to watch her struggle but I won’t go into all the reasons here…there is enough material for several posts. I saw the need for a companion that loved her unconditionally and a dog fit the bill perfectly. I gave Santa the seal of approval. It truly was the best Christmas morning EVER!!

Teaching Discipline

Rudy quickly became a member of our family and his bond to Pickles was picture perfect. I moaned and groaned through potty training (don’t get a new puppy in the winter; early morning potty breaks are wet, cold and frequent). What I didn’t expect was an invaluable lesson in discipline for Pickles. Of course she wanted to be involved in all things puppy so she came to doggy training and was eager (at first anyways) to practice at home. Teaching Rudy to sit, stay, lay down etc was an easy way to translate to her the importance of listening to authority. It was a hands on example of why listening to commands from a parent or teacher will earn you treats and keep you from getting plowed down by a car.

Morning Wake-ups

Mornings have always been tough for Pickles. She HATES getting up and if left alone can sleep like a teenager. Being a morning person I can’t relate but I had to find a way to start our day on the right foot. After trying several researched ideas I asked her what would work. Why I didn’t think of that first I have no idea!! She requested that Rudy wake her up. So the next morning I had Rudy follow me into her bedroom and place his head inches from her face (he’s a big dog). Sure enough she rolled over and sleepily pet his head. It’s not a perfect strategy but by far the one met with the least resistance day after day.

Rudy has become such a part of our family now I couldn’t imagine life without him. The struggle of training a new puppy was not easy but the payoff to clear some of our ADHDaze was beyond measure. I’ve never looked into this but I think you could even go so far as certifying your dog.  Check out some options here.