ADHD symptoms must be present before the age of 7 and last for at least six months before a diagnosis can be made. Hyperactivity, inattention and impulsiveness must be frequent and severe than typical children of the same age.
The goal of behavior therapy for ADHD is to prevent symptoms and improve functioning. Medication is used to calm down the hyperactivity and improve focus. Therapies such as behavior modification and cognitive behavior therapy for ADHD address core issues and teach skills that support improved daily functioning.
Behavior modification encourages desired behavior while extinguishing undesired behavior. The process begins with an assessment of the child’s strengths and weaknesses and targets a specific behavior. Then the “ABCs” are defined. This means that the antecedent (“A”), behavior (“B”) and consequences (“C”) must be determined. This should be done for the existing undesirable behavior and for the new behavior that you want to teach. The antecedent is whatever causes the behavior. A close look at the antecedent and what is achieved by the behavior helps define what purpose the behavior serves and provides a better focus for changes that need to be made.
Implementing Behavior Modification
Parents, teachers and therapists should work together to create a plan to control “A” and “C” in order to prompt the desired behavior in the child. Consistency is very important so the plan should be implemented by everyone who deals with the behavior. The plan should state what the new behavior is and then break the goal down into small attainable steps. For each step, specific instructions should be written describing what will be done to prompt the desired behavior (antecedent), what the resulting behavior should be and the consequences that will be used.
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