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Children with ADHD: Defining Features, Interventions and the Use of Stability Balls

Children with ADHD: Defining Features, Interventions and the Use of Stability Balls
Alicia L. Fedewa, Ph.D., NCSP, Licensed Psychologist
January 9, 2012



My research interest focuses on the effects of physical activity and other alternative interventions or treatments for kids who have externalizing behaviors.  This presentation is certainly a topic for which I have developed quite a passion.  Today, the focus of our continuing education course will be the use of stability balls as an intervention for kids with ADHD. 

 Before we get started, I would like to ask how many of you have been in schools and seen stability balls used as a therapeutic intervention for kids with attention or hyperactivity problems?  A couple of you answered yes.  That is great.  Some of you may already have a feel for what this might look like in our classroom.  For those of you who have not seen stability balls in classrooms, which it looks like a few of you have not, what I hope to present to you before we finish our discussion today, is the research supporting the effectiveness for the implementation of stability balls for kids with ADHD and also some considerations to keep in mind before recommending it in your practice.  

 We are going to be to begin our presentation by defining what it is to have ADHD and look at the prevalence of the diagnosis in school settings.  How common it is in our school age population today?  We are going to talk about issues of co‑morbidity.  What other diagnoses and problems are common among kids who have been diagnosed with ADHD.  We are going to discuss some common services that are provided by school based professionals when working with kids who have ADHD or other types of externalizing behavioral problems.  From these services, we are going to talk about what interventions have been deemed in the literature to actually be “evidence-based”.  We are going to consider the use of stability balls as a potential evidence-based intervention in the future.  We are then going to conclude our presentation with implications for stability ball use by occupational therapists who are working with school aged kids who have some have the behavioral characteristics of ADHD like inattention or hyperactivity.

alicia l fedewa

Alicia L. Fedewa, Ph.D., NCSP, Licensed Psychologist


Alicia Fedewa received her PhD from Michigan State University and completed her post-doctoral training in School Psychology at Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District outside of Houston, Texas. Her research interests include the relationship between curricular physical activity and children's academic, behavioral, and mental health outcomes.

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