Psychologists are finding behavioral interventions to effectively help children with ADHD. Providing immediate feedback is one of many simple and effective behavioral approaches in enhancing children’s attention with ADHD. ADHD is estimated to affect 7% of American children between the ages of 3 – 17. Research shows that more exercise and sleep can help children with ADHD in controlling their impulses.
Various behavioral interventions have been developed that include children’s therapy, parent programs, teacher programs and therapeutic recreational programs. The main emphasis in parent programs is to teach parents strategies in assisting their child to succeed. An intervention that is highlighted includes training parents to catch their children being good. The premise behind this intervention is notice children when they are engaging in good behavior, comment on it with the intent to reinforce the positive behavior.
Teacher programs for helping children with ADHD include giving simple, straightforward, one-step-at-a-time classroom instruction and announcing the consequences of not paying attention ahead of time. This allows children to improve their attention by simplifying instruction and controlling for impulse by knowing what the consequences of not following directions are. Another effective approach is contingency management. This strategy provides children with daily report cards that explain how well the children have met their daily goals of speaking in turn or bringing their homework to class. When they meet their daily goals, they receive rewards.
For therapeutic recreational programs, researchers suggest that behavioral interventions should be introduced and implemented prior to the commencement of school. An important role for psychologists with families is to identify the reason behind the problematic behavior in their children and how to address it. Parents can learn how to redirect their children’s behavior by encouraging their child to communicate their desires verbally, warning them about upcoming transitions and invoking consequences when he fails to follow directions.
Important lifestyle changes that have been found by the studies to positively impact children with ADHD include exercise and sleep. Exercise is a very powerful intervention. A few minutes of physical activity a day can help children with ADHD ignore distractions, stay focused and boost their academic performance per Dr. Pontifex’s research. Adequate sleep is another lifestyle change that could benefit children with ADHD. A half-hour of extra sleep can help prevent children from being restless at school and improve their behavior.
Source: Monitor on Psychology
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