Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder part 7

This is a last in a series on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I would like to talk a bit on psychosocial treatments which are very effective when combined with medication use. The focus is on various aspects of behavior modification which includes behavioral treatment, parent education and training, school interventions, and home interventions. Various other "talk therapies" have been tried but behavioral modification is the only treatment that has shown effectiveness with this disorder.

What is behavioral modification? It is a treatment where parents, teachers, and children learn specific techniques and skills which are used consistently in daily interactions. Behavioral modification focuses on identifying things that set off troublesome behavior, the behaviors themselves, and the consequences of the behavior such as how parents and teachers act in response to the behavior. The idea is to teach everyone skills in how to react differently and make the child's environment and experiences better when the good behavior that is desired is engaged in by the child. The only problem I have seen with behavioral interventions is that some people make them too complex. They must be simple and easy to implement and easily sustained over long periods of time. Many of them seem to be common sense approaches but parents and teachers must be encouraged to use the interventions as many of the behaviors with ADHD are very trying and tend to bring about negative reactions from parents and teachers.

Some behavioral interventions include ignoring mild inappropriate behaviors (choose your battles) use many more praises than negative comments, use clear short and specific instructions, reprimands should be brief, clear, neutral in tone, and as immediate as possible, placing the student's desk near the teacher, computer assisted instruction, simple behavior charts with points or tokens that can later be exchanged for rewards and many others. Again a lot of common sense approaches. I think one of the most difficult things is keeping reprimands brief and neutral in tone. We tend to speak angrily and give too many long explanations for why we are criticizing the behavior.

For more information on ADHD and behavioral strategies you can go to http://www.help4adhd.org/.

Thought for the day

Everyone deserves respect.

1 comment:

  1. This series has been very interesting. Your discussion about behavior modification reminds me of when I was doing a Social Work clerkship at Los Angeles County Juvenile Hall. The year was 1973-74. The entire ward was managed with a behavior modification point system, and now that I think about it many of these young girls probably suffered from ADHD. Obviously most had behavior issues, otherwise they would not have been in Juvenile Hall. I always remember that those accused of murder or assault were housed with the simple runaways! I remember the staff almost always spoke quietly and the girls always wanted to earn enough points to go to the Saturday night dance with the boys ward.
    Thanks for the information. Your common sense approach is helpful in everyday life whether or not ADHD is a factor.


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