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Attention Deficit Disorder

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The Jacob’s Ladder perspective for children who have been diagnoses with ADHD looks beyond the diagnosis to the whole child. As an ADHD diagnosis may encompass a wide array of challenges, Jacob’s Ladder looks at their current level of functioning when determining individualized treatment care.

Children with an ADHD diagnosis may exhibit dysregulation related to processing sensory and information. If visual, auditory, and vestibular sensory information is not able to be processed by the brain, it is impossible for a child to be able to make sense of their environment. By providing sensory input frequently throughout the day in an organized way, Jacob’s Ladder is able to address sensory dysregulation at the neurological level by using the concept of neuroplasticity. In addition to processing sensory input, children with ADHD are also evaluated to determine how they are processing and integrating visual and auditory information. Sequential processing relates to our ability to receive, process, store, and then utilize information from our environment. Sequential processing directly relates to how we receive information and is a precursor to higher cortical functioning. The neurological pathway involved in taking in information and giving correct output is complex, and is involved in language, learning, memory and executive function. By working to increase sequential processing amounts in children who have difficulty with focus and attention, we can strengthen these pathways and address the brain’s cognitive processing and academic performance. Providing organization to the brain in order to process and integrate sensory stimulation, we can address a child’s overall level of function.

Research has shown that early primitive reflexes also play an integral role in ADHD. Primitive reflexes develop before birth, directly following birth, or during the first month of life in direct relation to experiences, movements, and stimulation that is received. Primitive reflexes encompass 72 automatic movements that are directed from the brain stem and require no cortical involvements. If these reflexes are not wired, function attributed to the midbrain and forebrain will not follow. Integration of early reflexes is critical to sensory processing, higher level learning, focus and attention, and gross motor development, all of which are components of an ADHD diagnosis.