Can Dogs Help Treat ADHD in Children?
Animal assisted therapy is now being used by child psychiatrists in parts of the United States, Europe and Australia for children with psychological disorders such as ADHD. Animals with specific traits are used to aid in the child’s recovery as a natural treatment for ADHD.
The right techniques are applied according to the notes that therapist take about the physical, cognitive, emotional and social function of the child. Therapists make notes of the improvements or progress while watching the child interact under close supervision with the animal. Dogs are the most popular animal for animal assisted therapy, but birds, cats, rabbits, horses and even elephants and dolphins are sometimes used.
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Animals can assist in addressing the behavioral components of ADHD. Parents and children are often taught behavioral modification through the use of therapy dogs. Teachers and parents that are frustrated with the behaviors associated with ADHD may at times yell at children with the diagnosis. The dog is used to model the reactions of someone that is being yelled at showing them that they will be frightened or sad and will not come to them. The dog will go to you if you call them gently.
A reduction in impulsiveness and hyperactivity is noted by parents that witness animal-based therapies being used on their children. Children are taught to control impulses, take turns and increase their patience levels while meeting other objectives. Eventually sitting patiently and waiting your their turn is learning by those with oppositional defiant disorder by holding the animals.
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The social component of ADHD is explored as well. Children become increasingly affectionate with animals during therapy, even if they are not comfortable with human emotions or physical contact. The social demeanor of the children may change when around the animal but it is not known if the new behavior will translate to human interactions.
Not everyone should use animal-assisted therapy. Another type of therapy would probably be beneficial for a child that has an allergy or phobia. Some children may not be responsive to the therapy, especially if they do not have an interest in animals. Improvement or management of ADHD symptoms could be aided a great deal if your child adores furry little critters.
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Healthline has created a very useful infographics that you can access here.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder that most often occurs in children. Symptoms of ADHD include trouble concentrating, paying attention, staying organized, and remembering details.
It can be a difficult condition to diagnose. Children with untreated ADHD are sometimes mislabeled as troublemakers or problem children. Make sure you know the basic facts and symptoms of ADHD.
5 Fast Facts
Males are almost three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than females.
During their lifetimes, 12.9 percent of men will be diagnosed with the attention disorder. Just 4.9 percent of women will be diagnosed.
The average age of ADHD diagnosis is 7 years old.
Symptoms of ADHD typically first appear between the ages of 3 and 6.
ADHD isn’t just a childhood disorder. Today, about 4 percent of American adults over the age of 18 deal with ADHD on a daily basis.
- See more at: http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/facts-statistics-infographic#.dpuf
Currently, 6.1 percent of all American children are being treated for ADHD with medication. Some states have higher rates of treatment with medication than others. One in five American children who has been diagnosed with ADHD is not receiving medicine or mental health counseling for their disorder.
Lowest Rate of Treatment
Lowest Rate of Treatment
- Nevada: 2%
- Hawaii: 3.2%
- California: 3.3%
- Alaska, New Jersey, and Utah: 3.5%
- Colorado: 3.6%
- Louisiana: 10.4%
- Kentucky: 10.1%
- Indiana and Arkansas: 9.9%
- North Carolina: 9.4%
- Iowa: 9.2%
ADHD & Other ConditionsADHD doesn’t increase a person’s risk for other conditions or diseases. But some people with ADHD — especially children — are more likely to experience a range of co-existing conditions. They can sometimes make social situations more difficult or school more challenging.
Some co-existing conditions include:- See more at: http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/facts-statistics-infographic#4
- learning disabilities
- conduct disorders and difficulties, including antisocial behavior, fighting, and oppositional defiant disorder
- anxiety disorder
- bipolar disorder
- Tourette’s syndrome
- substance abuse
- bed-wetting problems
- sleep disorders