ADHD Interventions & Models for Occupational Therapists – Evidence-Based Practice

A list of models and occupational therapy interventions for ADHD based on research for children, adolescents, and adults. Interventions address ADHD symptoms, social skills, motor skills, play, cognition, and more.

Children

Models

  • Cognitive Rehabilitation (Toglia)
  • Behavioral
  • Play-based
  • Sensory

Interventions

Dyadic

  • Parent-child
  • Teacher-child
  • Occupational therapist-child

Executive Function

  • Cognitive-Functional (Cog-Fun)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) — hyperactivity

Play-Based

  • Theraplay — ADHD symptoms, social
  • Video feedback and video feed forward
  • Therapist modeling and peer modeling (Bandura)
  • Parent-led behavioral — interaction and communication skills
  • Verbal redirection
  • Reinforcement (Skinner)
  • Indirect instruction — Teacher guidance that is student-centered
  • One child-centered play therapy (CCPT) — stress & anxiety

Sensory

  • Weighted vests — attention & on-task behavior, not impulsivity
  • Stability balls — on-task behavior

Motor

  • Cognitive Orientation to Daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP)
  • 3D fine motor training — handwriting
  • Therapy — visual-motor

General Interventions

  • Sensory stimulation regulation
  • Daily time management
  • Time-assistance device (Assistive technology)

Insignificant Evidence for Children

  • Interactive Metronome Training® — for attention & impulsivity, but significant improvement in visual motor control.

Adolescents & Adults

Models

  • Canadian Model of Occupational Performance (CMOP)
  • Person-Environment-Occupation-Performance Model (PEOP)
  • Model of Human Occupation (MOHO)
  • Behavioral
  • Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT)
  • Mindfulness

Interventions

  • Physical environmental modification
  • Creating structures and routines
  • Social interaction and awareness
  • Promoting self-efficacy and personal capacity
  • Stress management techniques
  • Time management
  • Sensory stimulation regulation

Sources

Adamou, M., Asherson, P., Arif, M., Buckenham, L., Cubbin, S., Dancza, K., … & Young, S. (2021). Recommendations for occupational therapy interventions for adults with ADHD: a consensus statement from the UK adult ADHD network. BMC psychiatry, 21(1), 1-9.
Chicago

Cornell, H. R., Lin, T. T., & Anderson, J. A. (2018). A systematic review of play-based interventions for students with ADHD: implications for school-based occupational therapists. Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention, 11(2), 192-211.

Hahn-Markowitz, J., Berger, I., Manor, I., & Maeir, A. (2018). Cognitive-functional (Cog-Fun) dyadic intervention for children with ADHD and their parents: Impact on parenting self-efficacy. Physical & occupational therapy in pediatrics, 38(4), 444-456.

Lin, H. Y., Lee, P., Chang, W. D., & Hong, F. Y. (2014). Effects of weighted vests on attention, impulse control, and on-task behavior in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. American journal of occupational therapy, 68(2), 149-158.
Chicago

Nielsen, S. K., Kelsch, K., & Miller, K. (2017). Occupational therapy interventions for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A systematic review. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 33(1), 70-80.
Chicago

Jeff is a licensed occupational therapist and lead content creator for OT Dude. He covers all things occupational therapy as well as other topics including healthcare, wellness, mental health, technology, science, culture, sociology, philosophy, and more.