Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neuropsychological disorder that directly impacts executive inhibition, attention and functioning in the brain. ADHD impairs motor, verbal, thinking, motivation and emotional self-regulation due to hyperactivity-impulsivity. Inattentiveness creates challenges with distractibility, one’s ability to re-engage in a task after being disrupted, working memory, persistence towards goals, and self-monitoring.
ADHD management begins with diagnosis through psychological and academic testing. This helps the treatment “team” – patient, family, therapist, and school – assess the child’s strengths and weaknesses in their executive functioning skills and to determine if there is co-occurring anxiety, depression, trauma, substance use or learning challenges that could be impacting the child’s functioning. For adults, obtaining a diagnosis and understanding of strengths and weaknesses in executive functioning skills can help give direction on where to start on your journey to managing your symptoms.
The therapist helps the patient and family understand the symptoms of ADHD and how it directly impacts executive functioning skills. The therapist serves as the “ADHD coach” training “the team” on how ADHD works and strategies that might help, while the therapist learns from “the team” how the patient is personally impacted by ADHD. Collaboratively “the team” develops interventions to address challenges from a strengths-based, client-centered approach.
Executive function skills include:
Medications are prescribed and managed by primary doctors or psychiatrists. However, an ADHD Certified Therapist can help with:
∙Referrals to doctors or holistic medicine options
∙Gaining a basic understanding of how medications function
∙Providing support through frequent check-ins
∙Develop natural “life-balance” skills to manage symptoms in conjunction with medication
Often patients with ADHD may need to request accommodations with a 504/IEP in grade school or at disability services in college. Psychological assessments serve as a roadmap for these educational plans. Additionally, the therapist can consult with the school to make recommendations and to coordinate classroom behavior management.
ADHD Coaching /Treatment:
The therapist guides “the team” to help modify behaviors, teach executive functioning skills, and develop coping strategies for ADHD and co-occurring disorders through evidenced-based psychosocial treatment. Also, the therapist focuses on the client’s emotional needs and provides support as needed for stress management.
Adult ADHD coaching differs from child treatment in that the ADHD brain is more developed as are the patient’s executive functioning skills. Adult ADHD can affect multiple aspects of adult life including: academics (if in college), work, social relationships, and independent living skills. Goal-setting and strategies for managing challenges with executive functioning skills is a primary focus.
For questions about ADHD services, or to schedule an appointment or consultation, contact:
Christine Creighton, MS, LCPC, ATR-BC, ADHD-CCSP
Christine Creighton is an Art Therapist and ADHD Certified Clinical Services Provider.