Vancouver, British Columbia
What do parents tell us?
“He always loses things”, “He eats with his hands”, “She is constantly touching the baby’s face”, “It takes him forever to get ready for school”, “He explodes when his friends don’t want to play his way”, “Her room is a mess”, “He always interrupts me when I talk on the phone”, “He jumps into the street without thinking”, “The teacher complains that he constantly disrupts the other students” …
What does research tell us?
ADHD is one of the most common disorders and one that often continues throughout adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulties with sustained attention, impulsive behaviour and hyperactivity. Brain differences were found between people with ADHD and without ADHD. However, it is not about intelligence, as many people with ADHD are highly intelligent and even gifted. A genetic origin is suspected as well as different environmental factors. ADHD is manifested in different ways among diagnosed people. Each individual has their own unique profile, strengths and challenges.
What are executive functions?
Those are a set of higher cognitive skills mediated by the brain's frontal networks, that help us carry out novel and complex tasks and enable us to control our thoughts, emotions and behaviour, in order to successfully achieve our goals: Inhibiting our response before jumping into action, planning our actions, organizing our time and space, checking our progress, monitoring the outcomes, retaining several pieces of information in our head and manipulating them in the same time, problem-solving, mental flexibility (shifting) and emotional regulation.
If we think about every task we do daily, we will find out that we are using our executive functions all the time: Doing our grocery shopping, cooking and baking, driving to a new place, having family or friends over, planning a birthday party, studying for a test... The list is long.
Why is early intervention for children with ADHD essential?
When children are being supported at a young age and provided the opportunity to strengthen their executive functions, they are able to carry out daily tasks at daycare, school and the home environment (e.g., self-care, social play, academic learning) in a more efficient manner. This, while reducing the implications of feeling a lot of frustration and shame, often being punished, maltreated, or rejected.
Taking stimulant medication can just help them be more regulated and more available for learning. However, it doesn’t teach them the executive functions they require to navigate this world. This is where the Cog-Fun intervention comes into play.
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