Child-Centered Treatment Options Within the child-centered framework, establishing a safe, positive and respectful relationship with the child is fundamental for beginning the work and following up with treatment. From the start, honoring the child’s anxiety, silence, play language, need for exploration, pain, joy, confusion, etc., promotes a solid therapeutic relationship. The clinician’s understanding of the child’s self-directed capability can further enhance this process (Landreth, 2012). CCPT’s effectiveness is based on a foundation that the therapist believes children are intrinsically self- directed, motivated, resilient, self-determined, and capable of making developmental achievements. Using this innate drive, play therapists can provide an environment conducive to helping the child move towards stabilization (Landreth, 2012).
CCPT treatments take into account the child’s developmental stage, frustration tolerance, cognitive and language
functioning skills. The clinician’s ability to gather information about the child is greatly enhanced during game play. Games may help the clinician and child get to know one another better and give the clinician a sense of how the child’s ADHD manifests; some classics are hide-and-seek; Candy LandTM
; The Talking, Feeling, and Doing Game; and Mountaineering:
A Cooperative Adventure Game. Developmentally appropriate games also improve the child’s sequencing, planning, organizing, initiating and emotionally regulating behaviors (Yorke, 2012).
Reading aloud to children of all ages is a positive way to enhance the tracked more than 600 families with a reading program called the Video Interaction Project (VIP). The researchers found that when parents read of life (birth to 3 years of age), a substantial improvement in attentional, aggressive, and hyperactive behaviors, all of which are indicators of ADHD, were noted.
Art-based activities that include painting, drawing, working with natural or sculpting clay, and beading open clinical doors for children to express their feelings and thoughts verbally or nonverbally (Dessauer, 2016). The child’s silence during the activity is important to respect, as creativity can be interpersonally private. Words do not necessarily need to be uttered for healing to take place (Landreth, 2012).
The following examples depict the therapeutically self-directed capability of children with whom I have been privileged to work. They used these activities to self-regulate and to concentrate on therapeutic tasks.
• Relaxation sock: beans, tied off at the ribbed part, then placed in the microwave for the child’s desired warmth level. Children have reported immediately feeling calmer as they place the relaxation sock around their neck or on their stomach or legs. Some children have preferred to put the relaxation sock in the freezer because a colder temperature is more calming and soothing for them.
• Yarn stress balls: made from very soft or baby yarn, these handmade balls serve to quiet sensory domains for emotion regulation. Children have reported the ultra-soft feel of the yarn calms their body and thoughts.
• Balloon stress balls: tied off, then encased with two more balloons (let the child choose the colors), then securely tied off so that the child can squeeze and Some children have invented mixing flour and dry beans for a greater sense of sensory regulation, peacefulness, and accomplishment.
• Emotions puppets: made from craft sticks and various embellishments (feathers, sequins, pompoms, googly eyes, beads, etc.) associated with emotion and helps the child to safely externalize the problem(s) through the puppet (Landreth, 2012).
• Clay bags: made with natural clay that is dense and thick. Using a small resealable plastic bag, have the child dig into the clay and grab and zip it closed. The child can then squeeze the bag of clay, which helps to calm their body and mind during times of stress.
• Dry beans: in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes (chosen by the child) placed into a plastic container with a top may help a child quickly self- soothe by slowly running his or her hands through the cool, dry beans. Children can achieve a relaxed feeling, which reduces the overwhelming emotional state they often experience when in distress.
them a chance to allay their stressors instead of acting emotionally immature or aggressively. Implementing children’s ideas, based on their own intuitive therapeutic needs, is the ultimate child-centered treatment.
Nonclinical Treatment Options Play
therapists should also recommend nonclinical treatment
approaches to parents. For example, allowing the child time to play after school, encouraging him or her to ride a bike, run freely, and participate in other physical outlets may help manage some of the dysregulation children with ADHD experience. Sax (2016) touted more than 60 years of research emphasizing the importance of multisensory interaction on healthy child development. Sax (2016) found that time spent outdoors, digging and putting hands in the dirt (e.g., playing, feeling, smelling the part of a helpful treatment option for children diagnosed with ADHD. The importance of movement and exercise after school cannot be overstated, particularly for boys, who are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD (Holland & Riley, 2014).
Conclusion Given the complicated layers of ADHD and its co-existing diagnoses, children with ADHD need effective care as early as possible to avoid potential adverse, long-term consequences (e.g., Naderi. et al., 2010;
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