Thursday, May 17, 2012

Behavioral Therapy For ADHD Children

Children with Attention Deficit Disorder- ADHD tend to have behavioral issues, especially those who are hyperactive and/or impulsive. It can be so frustrating because parenting a child with behavioral problems is by far different and more difficult than typical parenting. There are many parents who don't have an ADHD child that will judge and tell you that you just need to discipline him/her, but you do these things, they just don't understand what it is like. By this I mean that you will often feel hopeless, you have been trying everything you can possibly think of and it seems like nothing works, or it won't stick. It is for this and many other reasons that behavioral therapy can be extremely helpful to the ADHD child, the parents and siblings as well. 

Medications are able to help your ADHD child's daily life making it easier for him/her to control some of the problematic behaviors. However, they do not help with the stress, frustration, anger and anxiety that comes from having ADHD. Therefore, it is actually highly recommended to use a combination of treatments for your ADHD child, which generally includes some type of behavior therapy. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in US and the National Institute for Health Clinical Excellence of the UK all recommend you use a trial of behavioral interventions as the initial treatment for kids with mild to moderate ADHD symptoms, even before the use of medications.These recommendations are based on research studies that have investigated the effectiveness of various methods of ADHD treatment.There was also a federal funded study done that compared the effectiveness of medications, behavioral therapy and a combination of treatment. It was found that all three of the treatment options to be similarly effective and recommend a combination of medication and behavioral therapy to be the most beneficial.

There are several different specific types of behavioral therapy, one more or even all of these could help. There is...

  • Behavior Therapy which focuses on behavior modification. This helps the child to work on their thinking and coping skills by identifying behaviors to be discouraged or encouraged. It can be helping him/her organize their tasks and schoolwork or can help the child be in control of his/her actions/reactions such as anger and thinking before acting. Basically it helps the child build his/her manage their emotions and coping in an appropriate and more productive way.
  •  Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy can be helpful with mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and anger. It is a form of counseling where children taught how to identify negative/distorted thoughts and give them the skills to deal with them in a healthy way. It also teaches kids how their thoughts can overall have affects on their mood and behavior, as well as how to manage these thoughts.
  • Psycho dynamic/ Psychotherapy is the child's version of Psychotherapy.  This can help children with anxiety, depression, anger, and lashing/acting out due to a conduct disorder and ODD. The psychotherapist helps the child figure out the issues that are influencing they way he/she thinks and/or acts. They also work with the child to explore any upsetting feeling and thoughts, self-defeating attitude and behaviors and teaches them alternative ways to handle these emotions and actions.
  • Social Skills Training is where the therapist can discuss and model appropriate behaviors and help the child learn new and appropriate social behaviors. These skills are important for developing and maintaining social relationships. The therapist can assist him/her in learning to share, waiting their turn, asking for help, and responding to teasing/bullying. This help the child develop better ways to talk to, interact and play with other children and helps them be able to obtain long lasting friendships.  
A lot, if not all of these therapies can be done with your child's therapist. All of them can be used to help your ADHD son or daughter at any age and can be extremely helpful with their behaviors. In addition, you can also ask your therapy to do a family counseling every so often to be able to help with your relationship with your child and to teach the child's siblings more about the disorder ADHD and how they feel as the brother/sister. 

Depending on your ADHD child's needs you can have therapy twice a week, once a week, every other week or even monthly. Although, medications can help your child's ADHD symptoms, I think every child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder should have some sort of counseling/therapy to learn how to cope with their ADHD symptoms and their emotions. Remember, ADHD children also tend to be more emotional and so they have troubles reacting to the emotions and overall "dealing" with them. 

 You can purchase books on these therapies that tell you about them and how to implement them with your ADHD child at my Child ADHD Store, this would be a good idea to try if you have a very busy schedule and fitting therapy sessions in would be hard or if therapy is too expensive of an option for you right now.

If you are looking for a therapist in your area, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry offers an online resource for finding qualified and certified therapists in your area. To go to it click here.

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