Occupational Therapy Programs for ADD/ADHD & Dyslexia

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Children diagnosed with ADD, ADHD or dyslexia commonly have learning disorders or problems achieving their best. Youngsters having attention deficit disorders often have difficulty paying attention or concentrating. Skewed sensory perception problems inhibit the brain from processing movement, touch and visual stimuli. Perception abnormalities also create reading, spelling and writing problems for dyslexic children. Occupational therapy programs assist students by equipping them with adaptability skills to improve:

• Fine and gross motor skills
• Visual motor and perception skills
Sensory processing
• Physical coordination
Thinking skills

The Alert Program

Also known as the “How Does Your Engine Run,” the program was originally created by Sherry Shellenberger and Mary Sue Williams. Youngsters with sensory processing issues often have overly sensitive nervous systems. These children commonly over react, cry or scream at the onset of loud noises or when they somehow feel that they have been slighted. The program works with children to see their brains like engines, which sometimes run too fast or too slow. Therapist teach the youngsters to self-regulate in order to ensure that their engines run at the appropriate speed. Children are taught techniques to self-soothe and calm down to prevent over-excitability or to motivate themselves when feeling sluggish.

The Brain Gym

Developed by Dr. Paul E. Dennison, the program focuses on improving communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Dr. Dennison theorized that by stimulating both sides of the brain, hyperactive behavior decreases while calmness and focus increase. One technique used to promote bilateral stimulation commonly includes engaging in exaggerated movements of the entire body. Another method requires touching opposite sides of the body.

Sensory Diets

The diets involve physical activities performed in a specially designed environment that is constructed to stimulate the brain in such a way as to improve visual perception. The rooms features activities and objects that stimulate any number of senses singly or simultaneously. By spending time in the environment and studying responses, therapists may then devise diets specific to a client's individual needs. The brains of some might benefit from gross motor skill movements. In other clients, perception might improve following activities involving audio or tactile stimulation.

Visual Perception Training

Children having visual perception difficulties often cannot differentiate between similar objects. Common examples include an inability to see the differences between the letter “b” and “d” or the letters “g” and “q.” Visual training teaches the brain to recognize and understand the differences using a variety of activities that may include copying shapes, putting together puzzles or working with construction toys. Other techniques include finding the matching objects, identifying shapes hidden in various backgrounds or completing unfinished drawings.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "Occupational Therapy Programs for ADD/ADHD & Dyslexia," in PsychologyDictionary.org, March 25, 2017, https://psychologydictionary.org/occupational-therapy-programs-for-addadhd-dyslexia/ (accessed October 4, 2022).