Physical Therapy to Treat ADHD

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.5 million children five to 17 years old have received a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as of 2006. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused, paying attention and controlling behavior, as well as overactivity. While many practitioners prescribe medications for ADHD, others advocate for various types of physical-based therapy to relieve ADHD symptoms. Before resorting to medication for your child with ADHD, try one of these alternative techniques.

Sensory Intervention Therapy

Engage your child in sensory integration. A study conducted by researchers at Temple University found that children with ADHD who underwent sensory intervention therapy significantly improved problematic behaviors such as restlessness, impulsiveness and hyperactivity. Sensory intervention therapy can include deep pressure (i.e., weighted vests, etc.) and strenuous exercise; practitioners generally tailor the therapy to meet the specific child’s needs. According to Dr. Moya Kinnealey, children who receive sensory intervention therapy are generally more at ease, more able to pay attention to a lesson in a noisy classroom and more comfortable participating in family activities.

Yoga And ADHD

Enroll your child in a yoga course. Yoga can improve the concentration, as well as mental and physical discipline, of individuals with ADHD, according to Pauline Jensen, author of a 2004 study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders. Moreover, a 2006 study led by Dr. Nicole Goldstein found that children with ADHD can benefit from yoga, particularly forward bends that help improve breathing—a critical component in developing concentration.

Interactive Metronome Therapy

Bring your child to an interactive metronome therapist. According to Dr. Stephen Beyer, rhythm and timing skills may affect people who have trouble paying attention. Interactive Metronome Therapy works to improve rhythm and timing skills. Your child will wear headphones that transmit evenly timed beeps. When he hears the beeps, he must clap his hands or tap his foot. The therapist records whether your child claps early or late, and feedback beeps help him adjust. Take note, however, that though certified by the American Physical Therapy Association, interactive metronome therapy has not received an endorsement from any other major professional organization, and the benefits of the therapy are still under debate.

Vision Therapy

Aim for the eyes. Vision therapy trains your child’s brain to use her eyes to receive information, comprehend it quickly and then react accordingly. Vision therapy may help some individuals who suffer from ADHD; vision and sensorimotor deficits can result in eye strain, headaches and blurred vision, which in turn make it difficult to read and pay attention. According to the Optometrists Network, visual and sensorimotor problems affect nearly 70 percent of individuals who suffer from a learning disability or ADHD. The vision therapist—usually an optometrist—will engage your child in computer activities, or use noncomputerized items, such as balls, balance boards and metronomes to help improve her visual retention.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention