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What is Behavior Therapy and How Can it Help Children with ADHD?

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What is Behavior Therapy and How Can it Help Children with ADHD? parent text


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Preschool/Kindergarten (3-5), School Age (6-12), Adolescence (13-21)

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What is Behavior Therapy and How Can it Help Children with ADHD?

What is Behavior Therapy and How Can it Help Children with ADHD?

Behavior therapy focuses on changing behavior by changing the environment. Behavior therapy for children teaches adults (parents, or teachers) how to respond when children misbehave. It also focuses on increasing children's good behavior. One part of behavior therapy is setting up consequences for children's behavior. Another focus is learning how to make it easier for your child to behave well (for example, following a routine).

Can behavior therapy help children with ADHD?

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics says that behavior therapy is a good treatment for ADHD.
  • For children 5-18, behavior therapy is not quite as good as medicine.
  • Headaches
  • For children 5-18, medicine and doing behavior therapy together is best.
  • For children who are not yet in school, doing behavior therapy is recommended instead of medication.

How long will the behavior therapy last?

  • Behavior therapy is usually short (about 5-10 weeks).

What might you and your family learn in behavior therapy?

  • How to know why your child is misbehaving
  • How to use rewards to increase your child's good behavior
  • How to use ignoring to decrease your child's minor bad behavior
  • How to use punishment, like time-out or taking away privileges, to improve behavior
  • How to give effective commands
  • How to build positive parent-child relationship
  • How to create a system of rewards
  • How to create a daily schedule
  • How to induce a behavior or create a homework contract

Why do behavior therapy?

  • Children who take medication and do behavior therapy program do the best.
  • If a child is not taking medication for ADHD, doing a behavior therapy program can reduce some symptoms of ADHD.
  • Behavior therapy can increase children's positive behavior.
  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who are not yet in school should be treated for ADHD with behavior therapy. Medication for ADHD should only be prescribed after behavior therapy has been tried.
  • Behavior therapy teaches parents how to improve behavior. This can make parenting a child with ADHD less stressful!
  • Behavior therapy can help children follow directions. This can make home life more peaceful for everyone in your family.
  • Behavior therapy can help children with ADHD do better in the long run. Children learn to cooperate. This can lead to more success in school and life.

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