What is behavior modification for ADHD?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Behavior modification helps people with ADHD learn to manage behavioral problems such as trouble getting along with peers and family members (including parents; even people without ADHD could probably use some tips on this), bad behavior at school, disobedience, and completing tasks like homework or work projects. Specific tasks and goals are set and checked off so that an ADHD child learns how to become a taxpayer. A behavior modification therapist identifies behaviors that need to be modified or new skills that need to be learned, and specific ways to deal with them so that functioning improves.

Behavior modification, or behavior therapy, is a psychosocial treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This type of therapy can be very effective as a treatment for ADHD and can help a person change his or her behavior. Behavior therapy is most effective when combined with ADHD medication therapy. In behavior therapy, a child, adolescent, or adult works to identify problem areas, learns new skills to change problem behaviors, and practices these skills.

Parents and teachers may be asked to get involved in a child's behavior modification therapy, learning ways to help the child or adolescent reduce problem behaviors and use new coping skills.

Behavior modification can also be learned in social skills groups. In a social skills group, behavior modification therapy takes place in a group setting, composed of people with ADHD. The group can work together on changing troublesome behaviors with support from their peers. Behavior modification can help individuals with ADHD achieve greater success in school, at work, and in their personal life.
Some behavior modifications used in the management of ADHD include increased exercise, decreased screen time, consistent routines and timed activities.

Behavioral therapy includes setting up a system of rewards for positive behavior to help children build self-esteem. To me, behavior management therapy is almost always beneficial because your child will learn how to be better organized and how to break down large tasks into smaller, manageable pieces with the help of timetables and schedules. Many schools have developed special programs to help kids with ADHD. While there is no specific cure for ADHD, a long-term management plan will help bring encouraging results.

From The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents

More About this Book

The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents

What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do! "Moms and dads need expert guidelines, especially when it comes to their kids' health. This book reveals the inside strategies I use myself-I'm a parent,...

Continue Learning about ADD/ADHD Treatment

How can I minimize side effects from ADHD medications?
Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MDDr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD
Medications can help with ADHD, but they can also cause side effects. In this video, I will offer th...
More Answers
Do serotonin reuptake inhibitors interact with any other medications?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
Serotonin reuptake inhibitors interact with many other medications. Most of the interactions are min...
More Answers
What Are the Treatment Options for Adults with ADHD?
What Are the Treatment Options for Adults with ADHD?
Spend Time Outdoors to Improve Your Concentration
Spend Time Outdoors to Improve Your Concentration

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.