Behavioural Therapy for Children with ADHD | Kaydee News Blog

Behavioural Therapy for Children with ADHD

Your child has been clinically diagnosed with ADHD after seeing all the right medical professionals and now you are wondering what the best treatment is going forward.

You know that common treatment for ADHD involves stimulant medication, but you may be wondering if there are alternative ways of successfully treating your child without medication, or at least in combination with what the doctor has prescribed.

This is where behavioural therapy for children with ADHD comes into the picture and, in this article, we will be discussing everything you need to know about it.

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What is Behavioural Therapy?

Behavioural therapy is not singular in nature but is rather a term used to describe a wide range of techniques used to change behavioural patterns that hinder an individual’s ability to adapt to their surroundings and to reframe negative thought patterns that influence these patterns.

The ultimate purpose of behavioural therapy is to teach and positively reinforce desirable behaviours and eliminate those that are not helpful.

Behavioural Therapy for ADHD Children

Behavioural therapy does not treat the core symptoms of ADHD. Instead, they teach children the skills they need to control them in a way that allows them to function normally and productively in school, home, and general society.

The type of therapy given to a child will depend on their predominant symptoms and areas of life that are most affected.

Types of Behavioural Therapy

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – CBT focuses on behavioural techniques as well as cognition and the potentially problematic thoughts that influence behaviour
  • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy - A form of CBT which makes use of both cognitive and behavioural techniques that aim to help individuals understand and manage their emotions, find ways to cope with stress, and improve interpersonal relationships
  • Cognitive Behavioural Play Therapy – Makes use of play to assess and treat psychological challenges by helping the child learn to behave and think in a more constructive manner
  • Applied Behaviour Analysis – Makes use of special techniques that modify problematic behaviours
  • Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy – The focus of this therapy is to help the child identify negative or destructive feelings or thoughts before teaching them how to reframe them and turn them into rational, positive ones
  • Social Learning Theory – Uses the method of allowing the child to observe others being rewarded for positive behaviour so that they are encouraged to change their behaviour
  • Exposure Therapy – Makes use of behavioural techniques aimed at helping the child overcome situational fear or anxiety by exposing them in a controlled manner to the source of their fear. Relaxation techniques are taught and practiced during exposure

Behavioural Therapy vs Medication for ADHD

Some parents may wonder why behavioural therapy is necessary if there are oral medications available to help manage the symptoms of ADHD.

Prescribed medication does in fact manage the symptoms successfully, however it only works when the child has taken them. In other words, on days (like weekends or school holidays) when the child does not take the medication, they will still display their full range of symptoms.

It is often encouraged that the medication only be given to children when they need it to get through a school day without any issues. However, this is not a sustainable approach.

Behavioural therapy is a long-term solution to managing, minimizing, and improving thoughts, feelings and behaviours that can be detrimental to the social, physical, and psychological well-being of your child. These are skills that your child will be able to take with them into adulthood.

Additionally, behavioural therapy often involves parent training, which teaches the parents of a child with ADHD how to teach, encourage, and reinforce the techniques and strategies learned during therapy sessions.

In other words, children are not only undergoing beneficial therapy during sessions, but at home too, which will only enhance the effects.

Some children will benefit hugely from therapy alone and will not even need medication, while others may need a combination. The key is to go through all the correct channels to receive a full, clinical diagnosis of the type of ADHD that your child has so that you know how to effectively treat and manage the highly complex disorder.

Kay-Dee Educare Centre Mowbray

Living with a child with ADHD can be challenging, but with the right diagnosis and treatment, both parents and children can overcome the hurdles to enjoy a mutually understanding and beneficial relationship.

Our programmes are suited to accommodate children with ADHD. We understand the complexity of the disorder and work closely with parents to ensure that all our children receive the care and attention they need to thrive.

We offer a range of childcare services including creche, after school care, and educare preschool and we pride ourselves in offering the highest level of childcare possible.

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