How Behavioral Therapy for Children with ADHD Helps with Self-Esteem and Productivity
The first step to helping a child with behavioral issues is understanding them and what might be going on in their head. This, of course, is easier said than done. For parents of children with ADHD, for example, things can get a little frustrating and chaotic. So, children diagnosed with ADHD may exhibit behavior problems that are not simply lectured away. Behavioral therapy is a great way to help parents and children better understand what they’re dealing with and how to mitigate it.
A Review: What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
The phrase gets thrown around a lot, but as of 2016, 6.1 million children of ages 2-17 in the U.S. had been diagnosed with ADHD. According to the study, out of these children, 6 out of 10 were taking medication for their ADHD. And while medication has been proven effective for children with the condition, behavioral therapy (sometimes coupled with medication) has also proven to be successful in helping kids improve self-esteem and productivity.
There are predominantly three categories of ADHD:
- Predominantly inattentive
- Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive
- Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive
Does My Child Have ADHD?
A child may showcase certain recognizable behaviors that might indicate ADHD. The following are a few of the common signs:
A pattern of inattention includes:
- Inability to pay attention to details
- A child has trouble staying focused on tasks or play
- Appears not to listen
- Has trouble with organization
- Often loses items
- Easily distracted
- Forgetfulness on daily activities
Hyperactivity and impulsivity may include:
- Constant or frequent fidgeting
- Trouble staying still or seated in the classroom
- It is constantly in motion
- Talks a lot
- Frequently interrupts others
- Common in blurting things out
As children grow and develop, these symptoms can become more and more problematic in many aspects of their lives. It might begin to affect their ability to make friends, retain friendships, get their schoolwork done, and even thrive in school. Ultimately, this has some effect on their productivity and their self-esteem.
How Behavior Therapy Can Help Children with ADHD
Behavior techniques can be beneficial for parents to learn as they better understand their child’s condition. According to the American Psychological Association, behavioral therapy should be considered before medication, especially in children under five years of age. The evidence suggests that there are clear positive results with behavioral therapies. This is because the successes achieved with implementing behavioral therapy carry on throughout the child’s life and development. Behavioral therapy doesn’t make the symptoms disappear. Instead, it helps the child learn to control them and better manage their own symptoms.
Medications stop working as soon as the child stops taking them. So the benefits of behavioral therapy (whether alone or in conjunction with medication) are far-reaching. So, in behavioral therapy, children will:
- Learn skills they will carry with them throughout their whole life
- Improve their behavior and social skills, facilitating friendships and relationships
- Give them independence and a feeling of control of their own lives
- Improve self-esteem because of their understanding and control of their own symptoms
- Improve their productivity at school and work, thus helping them feel better about themselves
What are Some of the Goals of Therapy for My Child?
Parents often have varying goals when it comes to their child’s therapy. Although, it also depends greatly on the kind of symptoms your child exhibits. Behavioral therapy with a child that has a lot of disruptive or aggressive behavior will vary from children who suffer from the more predominantly inattentive variety of ADHD. Behavioral therapy at the pediatrician’s office coupled with continuous therapy at home can help a child thrive and learn how to mitigate their ADHD symptoms. Examples of techniques employed in behavioral therapy include:
- Reinforcing good behavior with a reward system. If a child sees their good behavior rewarded, it is a start to creating a pattern.
- Ignoring bad behavior as a form to discourage it. Some children use bad behavior to get attention, ignoring the bad behavior can be effective in shifting it.
- Removing privileges when bad behavior returns.
- Avoiding common triggers or teaching a child what triggers them.
Thinking About Behavior Therapy for Your Child? Find a Pediatrician That Understands.
Overall, parents with children diagnosed with ADHD can often feel stressed and overwhelmed. However, the good news is that behavior therapy has proven effective in helping parents and children learn about the condition and understand how to mitigate the symptoms. Here at Pasitos Clinic, we work with children of different ages to find the right therapy plan for them.
Call Pasitos Clinic and find out more about how behavior therapy might be right for your child. Connect with us today.