Purpose of Technology: Occupational therapy (OT) for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) encompasses a wide array of interventions, with the aim of increasing function in all aspects of life and settings (school, home, etc.). Specific interventions vary and are determined by the occupational therapist depending on the presenting problems, deficits, and the therapist’s determination of the best course of treatment. OT interventions for ADHD can be classified as impairment oriented or performance oriented.

Rationale: The impairment-oriented interventions for ADHD are sensory based and rooted in sensory integration therapy. In performance-oriented interventions, it is theorized that in children with ADHD, executive dysfunction hinders the child from successfully interacting with others in daily activities.

Controversy: The impairment-oriented interventions and sensory-based interventions (weighted vests, therapy balls, interactive metronome) have been utilized over several decades with various patient populations (including ADHD), despite a lack of evidence supporting these interventions. There is comparably little work studying performance-based OT interventions, and it is important to determine the effectiveness of each intervention, as well as the components of the intervention that are necessary versus the components that do not contribute to symptom improvement.

Relevant Questions:

  • Is OT effective for patients with ADHD?

  • What are the different strategies for OT for patients with ADHD?

  • Is OT safe for patients with ADHD?

  • Have definitive patient selection criteria for OT for ADHD been established?


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