How is a behavior modification program for a child with ADHD created?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
You can start a behavior modification program for a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on your own or with help from a specialist. Often, children with ADHD experience problem behaviors in school and at home. To remedy these problem behaviors, parents, educators, and caregivers often use behavior modification techniques to identify and change problem behaviors.

When you are ready to begin, visit with an expert on behavior modification, if possible. This may be a psychologist or licensed therapist in your community. The therapist can guide you in getting started with behavior modification. If you cannot find a therapist who teaches these techniques, the National Resource Center on ADHD recommends that you follow these important steps to start your own behavior modification program:

- Identify goals that you want your child to accomplish.
- Identify factors that may cause negative behaviors in your child.
- Implement a system of rewards and consequences to reduce unwanted behaviors and encourage desirable behaviors.
- Be consistent in applying the behavioral techniques. This may mean that other caregivers need to be taught the same techniques that you are using.
- Be dedicated. Techniques should be used for the child's lifespan, not just for a few weeks or months.
- Expect setbacks and failures. Your child may respond slowly to the new strategies
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

There are as many ways to create a behavior-modification program for your child with ADHD as there are to skin a cat. (We don’t condone skinning cats, though!!) You could just read a book and try to do what is says. But that’s not so easy. It’s better to get some training. You can start with a Parent to Parent ADHD Training program in your community. Your primary-care doctor should also be able to connect you to a therapist trained in behavioral modification for kids with ADHD. The therapist will help you evaluate your child’s problems at home and in school, and will want to meet your child as well. He can help you develop a practical behavioral modification program that works for your family. Once you have a plan, you can work together (and even include your child’s teachers) as you put it into practice.

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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.