2021 Sensory Processing in ADHD Presentations

Day 1 - August 26th

Use of Accommodations for the Workplace: Bridge from Student to Practitioner
Dr. Lisa Johnson, Dr. Tara Griffiths, Dr. Mary Beth Dillon, Dr. Heather Colt, Dr. Andrea Sensel and Dr. Lori Prusnek

This presentation will explore a foundational research study conducted on a cohort of occupational therapists who had identified as requiring accommodations (similar to those asked for by individuals with ADHD and or disordered sensory processing, as well as others) while in their OT graduate program. Surprisingly, the data showed a substantial decline in accommodation requests as occupational therapists transitioned from student to practitioner. The researchers will discuss these findings, possible implications, and potential impacts for clients with neurodivergencies, practitioners and the field of occupational therapy.

  • discuss possible barriers in the workplace individuals with disabilities might be experiencing
  • summarize the process of reasonable accommodations throughout fieldwork and employment
  • describe the personal experiences of the subjects within the study, and the multiple facets of the results of the research.
  • explain the role of the sensory environment on functional participation and occupational performance in school and workplace settings


Normal Sucks | Jonathan Mooney

In-Sync Activities for All Reasons and Seasons (Interactive Workshop)
Carol Kranowitz

Did you know that 40% of children with ADHD also have disordered sensory processing? Or that 50% have motor issues? In-Sync Activities are designed to get kids actively moving so that they can develop and enhance three crucial areas of development: Sensory Processing, Perceptual-Motor and Visual skills. Movement is one of the most important factors in the physical, emotional, academic, and overall success of every child. Children develop the foundation for who they will become for the rest of their lives as they learn to move in different ways. Moving is fundamental to being “In Sync.” When you are In Sync, your movements are efficient and fluid. You feel comfortable in your body. When you are comfortable in your body, you feel good, you function better, and your brain is more available for learning.

  • Identify why movement is such an important part of development
  • List at least 3 activities that can be at home, via telehealth or in the community that would support development through movement.
  • Identify common household items that can support In-Sync Activities


Day 2 - September 2

Sensory Processing Features as an Added Dimension of ADHD: Implications for Research and Practice
Dr. Shelly Lane and Dr. Stacey Reynolds

While Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been extensively researched, there is still much that is poorly understood. This impedes our ability to identify risk and optimally inform treatment. An aspect of ADHD that has not been sufficiently studied relates to sensory processing. In this presentation, we address findings examining ADHD and sensory processing differences and also look at the response to a stressor in children with ADHD. Overall, findings suggest that sensory responsivity differences are not ubiquitous in ADHD and provide a different way to consider children with this diagnosis. Given the call from the National Institute of Health to move toward a more dimensional diagnostic process for mental health concerns, and away from the more routine categorical diagnostic process, we suggest sensory over-responsivity as a dimension in the diagnostic process for children with ADHD.

  • Describe the relationship between ADHD and anxiety in both children and adults
  • Explain how and why sensory over-responsivity might be seen as a unique dimension of ADHD
  • Discuss the importance of sensory over-responsivity as it relates to ADHD


ADHD: The Untapped Superpower |  Peter Shankman

Exploring the Complexity of ADHD: Moving Beyond the Hype and Hyperactive (Expert Panel Discussion)


Day 3 - September 9

What's the Difference? Exploring the Association Between Sensory Modulation and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
Dr. Aviva Yochman

Differential diagnosis between Sensory Modulation Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is often challenging since these conditions share several clinical characteristics and frequently co-occur. An increasing amount of research in recent years has focused on obtaining a better understanding of the relationship between these disorders. This presentation will provide a review of several of the main conclusion that emerge from the research evidence, followed by a discussion of the clinical implications for evaluation and intervention.

  • Describe scope of the research relating to the relationship between SMD and ADHD 
  • Recognize the complexity of the various factors which may contribute to the co-occurrence of these disorders
  • Explain various implications for the assessment and treatment of children showing symptoms of SMD and ADHD

From My Perspective: A Teen with ADHD, Anxiety, and Sensory Differences
Cooper Ochsenbein

This presentation will explore aspects of my life where ADHD has played a significant role, how it impacted me, and the things I learned about myself and my neurodivergencies.

  • Explain the larger impacts ADHD may have on a young person's life - social, emotional, and mental health
  • Identify a potential shared experience between the participant and the presenter in regards to neuro-divergency
  • Reflect on your own experiences and how neuro-divergencies may have played a role


ADHD and Adolescence: Responding on the Outside from an Inside Perspective
Hallie Bramblett

Those participating in the presentation should expect to gain a better understanding of the inner workings of someone with ADHD and sensory differences. This presentation has a focus on sensory meltdowns and how to approach and handle those as someone from the outside.

  • Discuss the reasons behind sensory overload meltdowns
  • Explain how to respond appropriately when encountering those with ADHD experiencing a sensory overload meltdown

Engaging ADHD: Using Play, Affect & Sensation to Tap into the Reward Center of ADHD (Interactive Workshop)
Michele Parkins

One of the many ways to understand ADHD is by thinking about a brain powered by the pursuit of an internally determined pleasurable reward. What if this sought after reward could be offered through your interaction style with your child? You can become the reward that engages the children with whom you work or your child with ADHD through the use of intentional play, affect and sensation. This presentation will provide ways to activate the rewarding emotional experiences of confidence, persistence, and accomplishment through sensory attuned play to improve attention, planning, organization and time management in ADHD. We will begin by looking at the underlying motor planning (praxis) foundations that support attention, planning, organization and time management. We will then use the concept of sensory attuned play to understand how praxis-based play strategies can improve overall engagement and independence in children with ADHD. Participants will have an opportunity to identify play based sensory effective strategies that can be used with the children with whom they interact right away.

This presentation is most relevant for parents and therapists with children ages 2-11.

  • Explain how the development of motor planning capacities contributes to attention, planning, organization and time management capacities in children with ADHD
  • Identify research that supports the importance of reward-based work and motor planning capacities when interacting with children with ADHD
  • Describe the connection between emotion, sensation, action and play and how this can be used to engage children with ADHD
  • Identify play based sensory affective strategies to use in your practice or your interactions with your own child that will support attention, planning, organization and time management