ADHD Services for Kids Aged 4 - 11
How can Occupational Therapy ADHD Coaching help my aged 4 – 11 year old child?
Does your child have trouble keeping her hands to herself, or is she constantly instigating fights with a sibling? Does your child routinely lose homework and personal belongings? Does he have big emotions that seem out of his control? Are homework, chores, grades, behavior, and lack of motivation your go-to themes for frequent lectures that go nowhere? Do consequences and punishments just not seem to work, at all?
If you are nodding your head along with me, you may be at your wit’s end – which is also someplace I have been.
Undesired behaviors – and the outcomes that follow – are not random. They are a sign that something within your child is lacking – whether it’s a skill or motivation, your child is having a hard time. And it is affecting the entire family.
Kids with ADHD have deficits in their executive functioning skills.
What are Executive Functioning Skills?
You may have heard the term “executive functions” before – or it may be new to you. Simplified, Executive Functioning (EF) skills are skills that support goal directed behavior. We begin developing these skills as infants, but they are not fully developed until the frontal lobe is completely mature, around age 25.
EF skills include: planning, organization, task initiation and follow through, problem solving. Also, sustained attention, inhibition, emotional control and flexibility. Working memory, time management, and the ability to assess one’s own progress are also EF skills.
Deficits to these skills may show up as problems following directions, remembering a sequence of activities, learning from past mistakes, staying focused for duration of a task, organizing, maintaining emotional control, and being flexible with unexpected changes, among many other ways. These, in turn, manifest into problems at home, school, work, and with social skills.
Even children who test as highly intelligent or gifted may lack EF skills, as there is no correlation with IQ! Most kids and adolescents could use some help managing them temporarily, as there is a true gap between expectations from teachers, coaches, and parents, and actual ability due to brain immaturity.
If skills are lacking in one or more of the EF areas, you, as the parent will know it. When parent expectations and reality are not the same, nobody wins. The cycle looks like this.
I am an occupational therapist specializing in ADHD. I developed the Big 6, which is a solution to not only the executive functioning skill problem, but the entire cycle of problems for the whole family!
What is the Big 6?
It’s a simple, 6-pronged solution. The Big 6 flows in a process that moves your child through obstacles in any area of his or her life. We first make those obstacles a bit less daunting by removing major barriers, then we motivate while teaching new skills and solving the problems that stand in their way. The skills learned and practiced, combined with parent and other adult support, foster a sense of success. As your child becomes more successful, you can back off on your “hand-holding” support and allow more autonomy. Finally, when he or she has mastered the skill, and solved problems proactively, they feel great about it and become motivated to continue to do so!
The process looks like this:
Are you approaching your wits end?
Many parents of younger children rely heavily on what child psychologist Ross W. Greene calls Plan A, where the parent imposes their will on the child who is not meeting a rule or expectation. I call this “my way or the highway”. You may be figuring out by now, that “my way or the highway” doesn’t work too well with kids with ADHD. Their neurodiverse brains just don’t always respond to imposed rules, bribes, threats, and consequences as we expect them to, and we often observe in our other neurotypical kids. Yet, you keep trying to Plan A them, and the more you try, the bigger the power struggle becomes. Cue the tears, frustration, and endless cycle of hoping that this time your kiddo will just listen! But that is not the case, and will not be, until you address the actual skills that are lacking in your child.
It’s okay… you didn’t know the options.
You may be overwhelmed with the amount of information available online. I work directly with you and your family to make things easy by letting the Big 6 guide all of my interventions. We work together – me, parents, and the most important person, your child – to identify their barriers, obstacles, lagging skills, struggles, and issues. Whatever you want to call them, we need information from the source of the problem, in order to solve the problem! I do that!
- Administer family assessment of child’s skills and areas in need of assistance
- Detailed additional assessments including: sensory processing, interest inventory, client and family goals
- Parent assessment of child’s strengths and weaknesses
- Teacher assessment of same (if needed or applicable)
- Review of results and written plan and implementation
- Consult only option available