Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
Improving the Quality of life of Children (5 - 10) with ADHD
Occupational Therapy is The Answer!
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 in childhood, which in many cases continues throughout adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulties with sustained attention, impulsive behavior 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 one has their own unique profile. Each one has their own 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 behavior, 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 being 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, while reducing the psycho-social implications of feeling frustrated, and being often punished, maltreated, rejected and having poor self-esteem.
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.
What is Cog-Fun (Cognitive-Functional) Intervention?
This is an intervention model that was developed more than a decade ago and researched by occupational therapists led by Prof. Adina Maeir in the Laboratory of Cognitive Rehabilitation in The Hebrew University. The Cog-Fun intervention model aims at promoting the cognitive and psycho-social functions of children with ADHD and improving their quality of life through the therapeutic relationship, meta-cognitive learning and environmental supports.
Research conducted on children aged 5 – 10, displayed great outcomes in achieving the functional goals that had been set in the beginning of this intervention.
Early Cog-Fun intervention that targets the improvement of executive functions can help facilitate the participation of children with ADHD, whether it is in the daycare, at school, at home and in every place they are required to take an active part. It also decreases the negative psycho-social implications of this neurological condition.
The goals of the Cog-Fun intervention are:
Enhancing the quality of life of the child with ADHD and his family.
Improving the child’s participation in daily occupations.
Providing the child and parents with efficient strategies that help the child better cope with the challenges faced by children with ADHD.
Promoting successful experiences and self-efficacy in daily occupations.
Empowering parents as change agents, who help the child transfer the skills to his daily life occupations.
All this is done by using playful and enjoyable activities that harness the child’s motivation, while parents are being active participants in both goal setting, during and between treatment sessions.
Please contact us to learn more about this powerful intervention that can change your family life for the better!
Intervention with children with Attention Deficit hyperactivity Disorder: A pilot study. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy 65(4), 384-392.
Hahn-Markowitz, J., Berger, I., Manor, I., & Maeir, A. (2016). Efficacy of Cognitive-Functional (Cog-Fun) Occupational Therapy Intervention Among Children With ADHD: An RCT. Journal of Attention Disorders, September 16, https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054716666955.
Maeir, A., Fisher, O., Traub Bar-Ilan, R., Boas, N., Berger, I., & E. Landau, Y. (2014). Effectiveness of Cognitive-Functional (Cog-Fun) Occupational Therapy Intervention for Young Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Controlled Study. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(3), 260-267.
Cooper-Kahn, J.,&Dietzel, L.C. (2008). Late, Lost and Unprepared: A Parents' Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House.
The Centre for Educational Technology (CET); http//ogen.cet.ac.il/students/WorthToKnow.aspx