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How can therapy help children with ADHD?

ADHD is a very common diagnosis for children of all ages.

ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, can be treated with therapy, medication, or a combination of the two.

Therapy is often the first choice for parents and doctors alike, as it presents a potential way to improve a child's symptoms without the need for medication, which often has side effects that may be uncomfortable. In many cases, however, medication is certainly necessary.

Therapy can help children with ADHD by teaching them coping strategies and methods for improving concentration and behavioral issues, giving them a means to improve academic performance, social skills, and self-confidence.

Let's explore the benefits of therapy for children with ADHD.

Key Takeways:

  • ADHD can cause difficulty in the classroom, in extracurriculars, and in a child's social life.
  • Therapy with the right licensed professional can greatly reduce symptoms.
  • Medication can also help children with ADHD.

ADHD Therapy Resources on This Page:

What difficulties can ADHD cause?

What type of therapy is ideal for treating ADHD?

How does therapy help children with ADHD?

What if therapy for ADHD doesn't work for my child?

What difficulties can ADHD cause?

Today's world is all about focus.

Before the information age, it was thought that roughly the same proportion of children had ADHD as today. However, back then, two things prevented accurate levels of diagnosis.

For starters, there was no classification of ADHD for much of history. A child with ADHD prior to it's discovery in 1902 was usually disregarded as "lacking morals" - a ridiculous notion that has long since become outdated.

Secondly, the world before the age of industrialization was one that made the symptoms of ADHD less noticeable. A primarily agrarian society works with the seasons and the sun, and a child's job - children usually had to work back then - usually involved bouncing around from task to task.

Standardized education and the advancement of trade specialization have certainly been beneficial for society, but they have also created a very real stratification between children with ADHD and children without it.

Modern life very much caters to the non-ADHD mind, with homework loads getting heavier and more specialized and jobs becoming more reliant on long periods of mental focus rather than physical energy.

It's clear that while ADHD isn't a bad thing, it can certainly create problems when children with ADHD try to fit in with a society that has not been constructed with their needs in mind.

Perhaps the place where this discrepancy is most obvious is in the classroom, but it can also manifest in a child's extracurriculars and social life.

How do we reconcile the unique way that children with ADHD think with a world that often requires that they fall in line? One of the best ways is through therapy with a mental health professional.

Definition Template (27)

What type of therapy is ideal for treating ADHD?

A 2020 meta-analysis of ADHD studies revealed that, all else held equal, children with ADHD usually benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Called CBT for short, cognitive behavioral therapy consists of an initial analysis of a child's go-to thought patterns, followed by a process called cognititive restructuring.

Cognitive restructuring may sound sci-fi, but it's actually just a trained methodology that a therapist uses in conversation with their patient to reorder their thoughts in a way that is more accurate, productive, and healthy.

In children with ADHD, whose thought patterns tend to be less predictable, this process can help improve focus, reduce mood regulation problems, and improve behavioral issues.

Note that CBT is certainly not the only option when it comes to therapy for ADHD. Depending on the age of your child, for example, play therapy may be more effective. Dialectic behavioral therapy is another option, having been designed for children who experience emotions to a greater degree of intensity than the average child.

After a couple of sessions with a therapist, they will be able to make a more concrete recommendation on what form of therapy is best for your child.

How does therapy help children with ADHD?

Talk therapy with a licensed professional can benefit people of all ages with any mental health concern.

For children with ADHD, a course of sessions with the right therapist can show improvement in a number of regards.

Behavioral Issues

ADHD can contribute to behavioral problems for a number of reasons. For example, children with ADHD tend to have higher levels of physical energy than children without ADHD. That energy needs somewhere to go - fidgeting, joking around, or distracting others - which is not ideal in a classroom setting.

Therapy can instruct a child on ways to contain or channel their energy in a way that is conducive to a learning environment.

Concentration Issues

A hallmark symptom of ADHD is difficulty concentrating on the task at hand. Contrary to popular belief, ADHD doesn't always mean that a child can't concentrate on anything. More often than not, a child with ADHD can actually hyperfocus on an array of tasks, but often only if those tasks interest them.

Therapy can help a child with ADHD control their hyperfocus and point it in the right direction during school hours and extracurriculars.

Academic Success

By reducing behavioral issues and increasing concentration in the classroom, many parents find that after a course of talk therapy sessions, their child's academic performance improves as well.

This is, of course, not the end-all-be-all of who your child is, but it certainly helps with stuff like knowledge and reasoning development and, down the line, college admissions.

What if therapy for ADHD doesn't work for my child?

If your child attends 12 to 18 sessions of therapy with a licensed professional and shows little to no improvement in their symptoms, it may be time to speak with a psychiatrist about your options for medications.

While some ADHD medications have uncomfortable side effects, there are at least an array of different ones your child, under the supervision of a licensed psychiatrist, can try to find the right one for them.

Therapy for Children with ADHD in Brooklyn: Williamsburg Therapy Group

If your child has an ADHD diagnosis, or if you suspect they may have ADHD, your next step is to get in touch with a licensed mental health professional.

Williamsburg Therapy Group is proud to be home to the Williamsburg, Brooklyn-area's finest array of doctoral-level child therapists.

We maintain a high-level of availability, so you can get your child the unrivaled expertise they need as quickly and easily as possible.

Give us a call to schedule an appointment with our patient coordinator or book online to get your child started on their mental health journey.

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