Behavioral Treatment for ADHD

What are the behavioral treatments for ADHD?
Behavior therapies do not eliminate the core symptoms of ADHD, but they can be very helpful in teaching children to manage them better. For example, children who have trouble finishing things and staying organized can learn techniques for completing tasks, keeping track of assignments, and getting their schoolwork done.

There’s also a kind of behavior therapy for ADHD called parent training that can help reduce behavior problems that stem from ADHD in children. Parent-child interaction therapy and other forms of parent training teach parents how to work with their kids to cultivate good behaviors while minimizing impulsive or inattentive ones. Stimulated by more positive reinforcement, kids who have been out of control can learn to rein in their behavior and enjoy more rewarding relationships with parents and teachers.

As children get older, they often begin working more one-on-one with clinicians to strengthen their organizational skills and develop effective behavioral plans.

When a child is old enough, cognitive behavioral therapy can help teach her to control her behaviors by understanding how her thoughts and feelings influence them.

For more on behavioral therapy for kids with ADHD click here.

What can we do to help kids strengthen executive functions?
To bolster kids with weak skills in these areas, learning specialists teach a mix of specific strategies and alternative learning styles that complement or enhance a child’s particular abilities.

With elementary school children, the educational specialist usually works with parents and kids together, to establish routines and tools to use to get work done successfully and with minimal conflict. For instance:

  • Checklists can be useful for anything from getting out of the house on time in the morning to doing homework after school to the bedtime routine. Since the steps necessary for completing a task often aren’t obvious to kids with ADHD, defining them clearly ahead of time, and posting them prominently, makes a task less daunting and more achievable.
  • Assigning a time limit for each step, particularly if it is a bigger, longer-term project, helps kids manage their time and avoid underestimating how long it will take to do something.
  • Using a planner is essential for kids with ADHD who struggle to remember things like homework assignments.
  • A rewards chart at home, as well as at school, can help motivate kids who are easily distracted and struggle to acquire new skills.

For more information on adolescents with ADHD, click here.