Many families come to us for help with ADHD and related behavioral problems. Some children (and adults) have previously received that diagnosis; then we examine the evidence and determine if the assessment seems to be correct and proceed with treatment.
We have written a series of practical articles for families of children 5-12. These articles make the principles for helping these children clear and simple. The Behavior Management principles in these articles apply, with adaptations, to children younger or older than this range of ages.
Many families stumble by using the same methods which worked for another child who does not have ADHD; they learn those methods do not work with the child who has ADHD. Then the family may be adrift or frustrated. Relationships become tense or hostile. Some parents employ the same methods their parents used to rear them. But those methods – “Good enough for my parents, then it’s good enough for me” – are not working.
In this series, we will lay out principles which have worked well to help families coming into our clinic with an ADHD child. The ideas in these articles work well with our ADHD families. We will even have an article on some of these common mistakes in managing ADHD.
Here are the topics in the series:
1. ADHD Assessment and Smart Goals
- The information which will lead to a careful, adequate evaluation of the child
- An overview of the ways we help with ADHD behavior.
- Best TIPS for success for your child.
- A description of SMART Goals for changing the child’s behavior.
2. Behavior Therapy with Your ADHD Child
- The principles of how to accomplish our first priority, helping your child to become more successful, using behavior change methods.
3. Behavior Contracting: Let’s Do It the Right Way
- Setting up an agreement with the child to change specific behaviors and to monitor the child’s performance. Agreements work better than lectures or demands – they make sure the child fully understands the changes we want.
4. Choose and Use Positive Reinforcement
- Picking reinforcements which will make a difference. Selecting “rewards” can be more challenging than most parents realize. Making consequences work effectively can be tricky.
5. Daily Logs for Improving Child Behavior
- Using Daily Logs as part of the behavior contract. You need feedback from school in order to know treatment is working or to know whether the child’s behavior for the day merits reward.
6. Shorehaven’s Double Reward-Double Cost Model for Changing Behaviors
- Explaining how to use immediate and short term reinforcement in order to change behavior quickly.
- Listing and explaining the most common behaviors we see from parents, the ones which can change from ineffective to effective with a little guidance.
8. Executive Functions: ADHD Is a Disorder of Self-Regulation
- Explaining how an understanding of the brain’s behavior control functions can help us determine a profile of the deficits of a child and lead to more specific strategies to help. Current research shows that problems with frontal lobe Executive Functioning, most notably Working Memory, are the cause of ADHD. Knowing about these functions can lead us to better strategies for compensating for those problems
9. Tips for Teachers of ADHD Children
- Listing dozens of tips and suggestions we have made for teachers of ADHD children over the years.
10. Understand “Impairment” and Ask for Accommodations
- Using Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) to help ADHD children receive accommodations in school, changes which will support their learning. Here are some places to learn about these federal laws.
11. Important Research Findings on ADHD
- ADHD is the subject of a large amount of research. We will focus on a few findings with major implications for parents.
We hope these ideas will prove helpful to your family. We welcome your feedback and comments.