Techniques for Children with ADHD

Friday, October 9, 2009 - 1:15pm

The results of th early-intervention study conducted by Dr. Lee Kern, Dr. George DuPaul, and colleagues suggest several strategies for parents and teachers working with young children with ADHD.

1) Make learning fun

Early experiences with reading and math are critical for later school success. Try to incorporate exposure to print and math concepts in a fun way throughout the day, like counting cars during drives with the family.

2) Catch ’em being good!

Adults rely entirely too much on punishment when trying to change challenging behaviors; furthermore, punishment alone is rarely effective in teaching children to engage in an expected behavior. It is much more effective to watch for appropriate behaviors, then praise the child or provide additional rewards.

3) Recognize & change triggers

All challenging behaviors are preceded by one or more triggers, such as when parents ask their child to clean up a play area. Once those triggers are identified, they can be changed in a systematic way. Give a warning several minutes before asking the child to clean up, and pay attention to see if there is an improvement in behavior.

4) Safety-proof your home

Young children with ADHD may be at higher risk of accidental injuries and poisoning. All potential hazardous liquids should be placed out of reach, electrical outlets should be covered, and rooms should be surveyed for dangerous objects before the child is allowed to enter.

5) Teach replacement behaviors

Sometimes children exhibit challenging behaviors because they don’t know better ways to communicate their needs. Spend time teaching children more appropriate ways to communicate what they want, like asking other children to take a turn sharing toys.