Curative pedagogical therapy of ADHD

Attention deficit syndrome, fidgety Phil syndrome, psychoorganic syndrome (POS), hyperkinetic syndrome (HKS), ADHD, Fidgety Phil, ADHD, minimal brain syndrome, Behavioral Disorder with Attention and Concentration Disorder.


As the name “curative education” suggests, this is a particular form of general education which can be used whenever education as such is negatively influenced and thus made more difficult by certain circumstances and causes. This means that curative education therapy forms in the field of learning problems in general are of great importance. Since in the case of ADHD the specific symptoms of the disease make education quite difficult, therapy based on curative education measures is understandable and advisable.

The aim is to alleviate symptoms and, in a special way, to increase the ability to concentrate and pay attention. Negative behaviour patterns should be recognised, processed and changed so that everyday life can be mastered more easily and without problems. Especially with ADHD children the reduction of conflicts with other children is in the foreground.

Particularly in the area of learning problems, which are always individual, THE curative education therapy form cannot be named. Rather, there is a multitude of possible forms of therapy to choose from. Some forms of therapy are described below. ADHD is a complex disease which is still not understood in all areas. Therefore the treatment approaches are manifold, in some parts even fundamentally contradictory.

Exercise Therapy

Exercise therapy, which acts on the psychomotor level, is usually carried out in small groups under therapeutic supervision. It is a method to experience and train one’s own body through a wide range of movement possibilities (new and different). Especially children with an attention deficit syndrome have problems with the perception of their own body, often also in the gross and fine motor area.

By means of different movement offers (balancing, jumping, running, swinging, sliding) they get to know their own body and their own abilities better and better. Over time, exercises that were initially very difficult become more secure, which ultimately gives the child self-confirmation. Exercise therapy is suitable for both hyper- and hypoactive children. Depending on the individual starting position, a softer form of exercise therapy may be advisable. An example of this is the so-called sensomotoric integration therapy, which is described below as a form of occupational therapy.


Within the framework of occupational therapy, disorders of the sensory organs, motor disorders and disorders of the mental and psychological abilities of a patient are to be cured to the extent that independence in everyday life is (re)possible. Contrary to what one might think, occupational therapy is not only intended for children, but for people of all age groups and includes not only pedagogical, but also neurological and/or orthopaedic tasks. Thus, an occupational therapy treatment with regard to ADHD is only one of many treatment options.

Occupational therapy treatment usually starts with a so-called initial consultation, in which all basic information is exchanged and initial information about the therapeutic treatment (test procedure, procedure, involvement of parents) is provided. Within the framework of occupational therapy, it is recommended that contact is made with all persons who are essentially involved in the upbringing and that this contact is repeatedly activated throughout the therapy. Only in this way can the therapy work on everyday problems, only in this way can successes and failures be included in the planning.

In addition to contact with the parents, cooperation with educators, teachers and educators should therefore also be sought. It is also advisable to have a regular exchange with the treating doctors, psychologists and/or other therapists. Specific ergotherapy for ADHD addresses both the typical accompanying symptoms of ADHD as well as the secondary side effects, whereby the social behaviour of the child is primarily taken into account and the physical level is addressed through motor exercises.

Children’s occupational therapy is based on well-known forms of therapy, such as Bobath therapy or Ayre therapy, or concepts according to Frostig, Affolter, etc. Sensory integration therapy, sensomotoric perceptive therapy: Neurophysiological therapy form (self-instruction training):

  • Improvement of the coordination of movement sequences (coordinative abilities)
  • Improvement of the visual – auditory perception
  • Improvement of fine motor skills (e.g. according to Jean Ayres)
  • Playful improvement of the memory performance
  • Playful improvement of the ability to distinguish important from unimportant things: improvement of the targeted steering of attention
  • Playful development of memory sentences for self-regulation
  • Improvement of behaviour through self-regulation (no avoidance, but targeted training/exercising unpleasant activities) (e.g. according to Bobath)

Since the individual prerequisites and problems of the child are always taken as a starting point, the decision as to which approach is to be pursued therapeutically depends on the child itself.

A good and targeted therapy starts exactly where it is appropriate for the child. From a therapeutic point of view, the child is picked up where it stands. Deficiencies are recognized and taken up therapeutically.

It is not only because of the increasing professionalisation of the occupational therapist’s profession that successes with regard to occupational therapy in the field of ADHD cannot be ignored. The extent to which successes can be achieved in individual cases cannot be judged in general terms. Success is always partly dependent on the individual concomitant symptoms and especially on support at home.

This is based on the fact that even the most conspicuous ADHD children are very caring – in relation to animals – and show above-average long concentration phases. Over time, they build up an inner and deep connection with the animal and thus strengthen its self-confidence. There are different possibilities with regard to therapy with animals.

However, one thing must not be confused here: Therapy with animals is not the same as “child gets pet”. Therapy with animals rather means that the child is connected with a specially trained animal (e.g. dog) at the appropriate point. First of all, the child spends some time with the animal, for example monitored by a video camera.

As a rule, such therapy has a positive effect on the child in several areas:

  • The self-confidence of the child is strengthened
  • The child receives affection from the animal and, in contact with it, promotes its ability to concentrate and independence. – The mental balance of the child can be restored through the above-mentioned aspects

Therapeutic Riding / HippotherapyTherapeutic riding is a special form of therapy with animals and is also used in the field of ADHD therapy. Therapeutic riding aims to improve the mobility of the body, motor skills and muscle development and to build up an intensive relationship with the horse in order to provoke an increase in self-confidence and independence. Through the positive feeling a mental balance should be achieved and the child should be indirectly moved to longer concentration phases, to the reduction of aggressions etc.