How Play Therapy Helps Kids With ADHD
ADHD Play Therapy
ADHD play therapy is one way parents can tackle the growing issue of hyperactivity in children. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can affect one out of every ten American children between the ages of 4 and 17. A difficult condition to diagnose, ADHD can lead to acting out, physical aggression, anxiety and academic difficulties. While 6.1% of American children are being treated for ADHD with medication, these medications merely treat the symptoms of ADHD and can sometimes cause side effects that mimic the symptoms themselves.
The physical activity of play can often help children cope with these symptoms, as a supplement to or replacement of medications. Outdoor play has been proven to improve attention for children with ADHD. It limits computer and video game play, which have been shown to worsen ADHD symptoms.
Developing Social Skills
For younger children, ADHD play therapy that involves an element of fantasy or make-believe allows them to explore social interaction and experiences in a safe context. This is especially important to children with ADHD. Fantasy play often engages the child in a way that allows them to stay with a string of tasks longs enough to bring them to a conclusion, teaching them to consider consequences before acting. Play allows them to practice these social behavior skills and eventually transition them into real life.
Focused Feel-Good Energy Release
The physical activity of ADHD play therapy provides healthy exercise and its positive mood-boosting chemical benefits. When your child runs and jumps, his or her body releases endorphins that help regulate mood and elevate feel-good dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain.
For older children, organized physical activities help release pent up energy. While many sports can help burn off energy, large team sports or games that involve long periods of standing and inactivity may not be the best choice.
Some of the best physical activities for children with ADHD:
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