Non-Medication Treatment Modalities For AD/HD
William P. McFarren, Ed.D
Studies suggest that physical activity can help children with AD/HD ignore distraction, stay focused and boost academic performance.
Adding as little as a half an hour to a child's sleep can keep kids from being as restless at school and improve their behavior Conversely, cutting back on sleep can result in tears, tantrums and increased frustration.
These interventions focus upon teaching parents strategies for helping children succeed. Children with AD/HD too frequently receive negative feedback from others, which damages their self-esteem. One strategy is to teach adults to notice when they are being good such as listening and staying on task so children are receiving reinforcement for desirable behavior.
Giving straight forward one step-at-a-time instructions to children and given the consequences for not paying attention ahead of time can be helpful.
Another effective approach is contingency management. With this strategy children receive daily report cards that outline how well they have met goals such as speaking in turn or bringing their homework back to class. When they meet their goals they receive awards.
These can involve one on one or group sessions with a psychologist or therapist. They target social skills training, learning self-reinforcement, and strategies to enhance self-esteem. Organizational skills are also taught. Research clearly supports the benefits of medication in the successful treatment of AD/HO, The combined approach of behavioral and medication interventions increases the chanetbs Of success. For those children who do not benefit from medication or are unable to tolerate Ite non-medication options can yield positive results.