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How Does Behavioral Therapy for ADHD in Children Work?

Updated on November 15th, 2019
behavioral therapy for adhd

While over-activeness, being fidgety, and concentrating less in a classroom are considered to be common traits in children, at times these signs can point towards attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also.

It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that starts showing signs typically during early childhood years, commonly before the child turns 7. Children suffering from ADHD find it difficult to control their responses, which includes everything starting from their movement to their ability to concentrate.

Often, finding out the difference between normal child-like behavior and the signs of ADHD(1) can be quite difficult. However, even the slightest appearance of the symptoms should not go unattended, especially if the symptoms are appearing under all situations.

If your child has been showing symptoms at school, at home, and even during his playtime, it is important that attention is paid to his condition.

To treat children with ADHD, there are a number of behavior therapies but, they all work on the same goal which is to change the child’s physical and social environments to bring a change in his behavior and responses.

Usually, parents and teachers of children going under behavioral therapy for ADHD are taught better ways of dealing and relating to these children.

During the course of the therapy, every caregiver of the child learns how to teach rules and how you can make him abide by them. They are also taught the needs of children with ADHD and how they can enforce discipline and encourage better behavioral responses.

Did You Know?

  1. One of the most common signs of ADHD is self-focused behavior. If your child suffers from ADHD, some of the common symptoms that you will notice will be interruption and discomfort waiting for their turn in a queue.
  2. Frequent episodes of anger and outbursts in children can be signs of ADHD. These episodes can occur anytime, and the child can just start throwing temper tantrums without any reason.

Distinguish Between Normal Child Behavior and ADHD

Child Behavior
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If a child has ADHD, it will only be diagnosed by the time he reaches his teen years. The average age of ADHD diagnosis is 7 years. There are multiple signs that as a caregiver you can look for diagnose the problem as early as possible.

Here are some of the signs that will help you distinguish between a child’s normal behavior and ADHD indicators.

Fidgetiness: Although most children are active, kids with ADHD often find it difficult to sit still. They will constantly try to move around, fidget around with things, and find it very discomforting to sit still in one place.

Loss of interest: A child suffering from ADHD can find it very difficult to finish tasks even though they show a lot of interest at first. This usually happens due to a loss of interest in that particular task.

You can notice their behavior while doing their homework or any school projects. If they move onto the next task without finishing the previous one, it should be alarming.

Less focus: One of the most common signs of ADHD in children is that children find it extremely difficult to focus on one thing. They might say that they have paid attention and heard you, but when you ask them to repeat back, they start fumbling.

[ Read: Natural Treatments for ADHD ]

Interesting Facts about ADHD

  1. People suffering from ADHD might also suffer from short-term memory loss. Thus, having a calendar and a reminder at hand can be a useful strategy to overcome the struggles of ADHD.
  2. ADHD can interfere with your healthy routine. There are researches that show people with ADHD have problems sticking to a healthy routine. For example, they are not able to have a regular sleep pattern.

Behavioral Therapy to Treat ADHD

ADHD
Image: ShutterStock

The approach of behavioral therapy for ADHD in children will largely depend on the age of the child. So, here’s how you should go about it.

1. Age 5 Years and Younger

If a change is going to take place in your child’s routine, like a vacation or a visit to a relative’s place, he must be informed about it. If anything unusual is going to take place in his routine, he must be pre-informed.

This will bring about a change in his behavior and responses since he will be able to manage his expectations and will have time to understand the rules before the activity.

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You must also reward him regularly. If he has done something to make you proud, reward him with some time off for his favorite hobby or anything else that makes him happy. Make sure that you restrict yourself from giving candy, money, or food as a reward.

[ Read: Alternative Treatments for ADHD ]

2. Age 6-12

As a part of the behavioral therapy for ADHD(2), you must make sure that all your instructions to your child are crystal clear. If you want to involve him in a time-consuming task, break it down into chunks instead of making him do it in one go.

Manage a point system to reward him and communicate it to him so that he can manage his expectations. Similarly, the punishment for misbehavior should also be communicated clearly to him. Avoid scolding or disciplining your child in front of other people.

Let your child have a role model. It is extremely important for children with ADHD to have idols in their lives.

[ Read: Top 5 Amazing Natural Remedies for ADHD ]

3. Teenagers

When your child has reached his teens, he is mature enough. So, let him help you with setting expectations, the reward program, and punishments.

This will make them feel responsible and will also give a boost to their self-esteem. When they are part of such mature discussions with their parents, it gives them a sense of responsibility towards their behavior.

Many people might find it extremely difficult to deal with children with ADHD. But, with the right behavioral therapy, they can help the child overcome all the symptoms and move towards better behavior.

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