Deficit Disorder (ADD) in kids is characterized by lack of attention and
unresponsiveness. Cognitive skills such as attention, concentration, memory,
judgement, logical thinking and abstract thinking are usually damaged in
children with ADD. Occupational Therapist Justin Vens from
Pebbles Rehabilitation Centre for Children, Chennai explains how ADD can be
addressed to ensure children will be comfortable in their academic performance
and social skills.
Q. How do you decide on a course of action to
help each child with Attention Deficit Disorder?
The first day
children are observed, examined and an overall assessment is done. While
building a rapport with the child, the likes and dislikes become evident
through their general habits and behaviour. We select the desired activities of
child and focus on those activities where the child will involve
himself/herself. These activities usually last up to 5 minutes to improve the
attention span and then gradually increase to 10 minutes during the weekly
sessions. The sessions are thrice a
week but in severe cases a child may be asked to come for 5 sessions in a week.
Q. How do you get ADD kids interested in their school lessons?
child may like throwing balls, so initially the child is asked to throw the
ball in one direction for twenty minutes and then throw in the opposite
direction, slowly the child is asked to throw ball in different directions.
During the activity the rapport with the child is used as a medium to create
interest in activities the child prefers to avoid, such as academics, where
children with ADD usually find calculations difficult, have a problem with
mathematics, writing, reading and parents generally complain that the child
won't remain seated to study or do their homework. A gradual balance in both
desired and undesired activities improves the self-confidence in the child and
eventually these children show interest in activities they previously did not
Q. Usually children with ADD find it very
challenging to write. How do you help them overcome this block?
When it comes to writing,
children with ADD have difficulties in writing, so they write only one line and
then are made to write two lines. In due course of time they are made to write
three to four pages and depending on the child's interest level they are
encouraged to write stories. If a child does not like to write he or she does
not write on the board instead the child writes on sand, draws images and then
is made to draw on mirrors with paint. We begin with asking the child to write
his own name, his father's name, mother's name and then his school's name. The
writing will not be consistent so we draw lines and provide spaces for the
child to write within those boundaries. This helps in space orientation. It
takes three years for a child to reach a certain cognitive level if parents opt
for continuous therapy.Q. Expectation from
Parents: Parents prepare an itinerary to record
the activities of the child beginning from the moment the child wakes up until
he gets to bed. The primary focus is in finding how many hours the child spends
with physical activities such as playing and especially playing outdoors.
Forty-five minute session at the Pebble's centre will not be sufficient for a
child's improvement unless parents also co-operate. So depending on the home
environment, activities similar to the ones at the Centre is created. For
instance the sofa set is arranged in a circle for the child to throw and pick
the ball from there. Parents should spend 45 minutes with playing with the
children either in the morning or in the evening. However only 2 out of 10
parents are committed. Most parents work or travel around
leaving children alone in the house which aggravates such disorders in
Outdoor activities are important for these
children, especially sports. The more children play the more their brain will
be active, brain gets a workout, their learning skills, listening skills,
logical thinking, attention and concentration improve. Sad state of affairs
includes parents confining children in the houses and at the most letting them
play in the parks. Junk food also contributes to deterioration in the child.
Social interaction is important for kids. Most
activities that help children with ADD to improve cognitively and socially have
been incorporated through games. Medindia commends the dedication of
Occupational Therapists with their sole focus on making children happy.