Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Up to 50% of children and adolescents with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) exhibit motor abnormalities including altered balance. Cerebellar dysfunction may contribute to the minor postural deficits seen in ADHD children.[1]

How can TheraTogs contribute to ADHD management?

We suggest using TheraTogs to address the issues of Developmental Coordination Disorder in ADHD (see discussion below). The undergarments deliver the somatosensory input and gentle mechanical stability of a customized body hug. For children with sensory-seeking behaviors who settle down when held, this cozy hug can have a calming effect. Strapping is available to add more body awareness – through compression and by shortening underlying musculature; to improve the alignment of the spine and pelvis; or to add deep compression as a stimulus for activating the postural muscles of the trunk.

Related Sciences:

Applicable Therapy Approaches:

Applicable TheraTogs Systems

These TheraTogs products can support therapy goals for children with ADD/DCD and ADHD/DCD:

About ADHD

Symptoms of attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) include a variable array of social and behavioral difficulties such as staying focused on a task, controlling behavior (impulsivity), and keeping still (hyperactivity). Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) commonly accompanies ADHD [2] , and features problems of balance and motor coordination and of related factors of low muscle tone and ligament laxity that are seen in postural malalignments such as a rounded upper spine and arched lower spine, hyperextended knees, and low-arched or flexible feet.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) describes three subtypes of ADHD [3]:

  • Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive
  • Predominantly inattentive
  • Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive – the most common of the types, also known as ADHD-C.

The NIMH does not, however, discuss the associated problems of sensory processing deficits and DCD on their website.

In 2000, a group of young adults with ADHD was divided into those with DCD and those without DCD. Researchers compared several parameters showed that of those with DCD, 58% had a poor outcome compared with 13% in the comparison group without DCD.  Remaining symptoms of ADHD- antisocial personality disorder, alcohol abuse, criminal offending, reading disorders, and low educational level – were overrepresented in the ADHD/DCD groups.[1]

In another study, school-aged children with ADHD-C showed significantly lower scores than those of their peers for standing balance, somatosensory modulation or processing  (awareness of and responsiveness to sensory information about joint positions and movements), vestibular (inner ear), and visual functions. [4]  Furthermore, an increased and persistent thickness of the cortex in the primary somatosensory cortex has been reported in adolescents and adults with ADHD compared with neurotypical peers. [5]

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  1. Buderath P, Gärtner K, Frings M, et al. 2009. Postural and gait performance in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Gait Posture. ;29(2):249-54
  2. Rasmussen P, Gillberg C. 2000. Natural outcome of ADHD with developmental coordination disorder at age 22 years: a controlled, longitudinal, community-based study. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 39(11):1424-31.
  3. NIMH on ADHD
  4. Shum SB, Pang MY. 2009. Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have impaired balance function: involvement of somatosensory, visual, and vestibular systems. J Pediatr. 155(2): 245-249.
  5. Duerden EG, Tannock R, Dockstader C. 2012. Altered cortical morphology in sensorimotor processing regions in adolescents and adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Brain Res. 1445: 82-91.