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Not paying attention, making a hundred different noises, not following directions, not turning in home work assignments, taking three hours to do a single page of homework, irritating other brothers and sisters, and losing personal belongings are just some of the negative behaviors given by children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Even the best teachers and parents have difficulty with ADHD children. It is easy to become frustrated and discouraged. The purpose of this chapter is to arm parents and teachers with tools enabling them to work effectively with ADHD children and adults. This chapter describes the most powerful behavioral techniques to deal with negative ADHD behaviors. The ultimate goal of these techniques is to help children and families learn ways to overcome the negative effects of ADHD behaviors.
Everything we do can be described as a behavior. As you read this sentence, you are doing a behavior called reading. If you are sitting in a chair, you are doing the behavior of sitting. An ADHD child or ADHD adult does many behaviors. Most behaviors are good. Only a few of the behaviors are truly irritating, disruptive, or interfere with school work. When working with children, mistakenly we overlook the behaviors that are appropriate or good. Adults tend to notice the bad behaviors.
This chapter is written to discuss ways that effectively reduce the bad behaviors and ways to increase the good behaviors. This chapter is divided into three sections. The first section deals with important concepts to learn before starting behavioral techniques. The next section offers a complete description of techniques to stop undesired behaviors (e.g., being hyperactive, irritating siblings). And the final section describes techniques that increase desired behaviors (e.g., paying attention, increasing memory). Before the techniques are described, there are important concepts that need explaining.
Behavioral techniques refer to scientific methods to change behavior. The process of changing behavior is called behavior modification. Over the years, scientists have noticed interesting patterns regarding animal and human behavior when applying behavioral techniques. Understanding these patterns or principles can help increase the effectiveness or success of behavioral interventions. Important concepts to understand include clarity, consistency, patience, extinction bursts, spikes, and “honeymoon periods.”
Clarity is making things very understandable to the ADHD child. It is common for ADHD children to misunderstand directions, mishear things, forget how things were, etc. Clarity helps prevent misunderstandings. It is important for you to be clear of which behaviors are acceptable and which behaviors are not. Behaviors to change should be written down. Behaviour Modification
Consequences for mis-behaviors should be written in terms that children can understand. Interventions should be explained and written as much as possible. Interventions should be kept simple and easily understood. Not fighting with your sister is very unclear. Does fighting include bickering, arguing, slaps to the arm, name calling, or other behaviors. Behaviour Modification
A more clear instruction is not touching your sister. A less clear but often clear enough instruction is not saying anything negative to your sister. The problem with this is that he parent often has to interpret if statements were negative or not. To help clarify this rule, examples can be given such as: No calling her a cry baby, ugly, slow, stupid, retarded, saying “duuhh”. Behaviour Modification
Once these rules and procedures are written in clear language, they should be posted in a spot where everyone can frequently review them. Often a hallway makes a good place to post rules, consequences, and written intervention procedures.Behaviour Modification