View Full Version : bad rep?!

07-11-05, 09:09 PM
I feel like behavior modification has gained a bad reputation as a result of its history; It's history is horrendous!

Institutions were given carte blanche. There was no countercontrol. There no thoughts given to ethics. The interventions they did are unspeakable. And people's rights?? They were completely disregarded.

Behavior modification began it's change towards the better in the early 70's, when attorneys and guardians started to realize that people in institutions still had rights, given to them by the constitution.

Since then, behavior modification has been focusing on the person's least restrictive alternative.

In other words - the least restrictive alternative in behavior modification is positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is using an edible, item, movie, etc.(something that can be used to motivate the person) each time you see them displaying the appropriate target behavior. If the person is motivated enough, learning will occur, the behavior you are reinforcing will overcome the problem behavior.
What's happening is that you're replacing the problem behavior with an alternative behavior.

The only time aversive or punishment interventions are used is if all positive reinforcement programs (that are appropriate) have been exhausted and the person is a danger to himself or others. The aversive/punishment interventions are not taken lightly, every state has regulations that must be followed.

Anytime a behavior is modified, data documentation is a must. This is to prove there was a problem behavior (taking baseline) then to show that the intervention worked and a maintenance program continued to prove that the intervention worked.

Behavior modification isn't something people should do without knowing what you are doing. Even positive reinforcement can be screwed up.

But, behavior modification is definitely something that can help fellow ADDers and everyone else in this world. When applied correctly, behavior modification works.

One more thing to add, positive reinforcement is a great tool for parents, co-workers, for anyone!! Anytime you see a person doing something good (especially if it's a rarity) reinforce them (with an item or just praise). I bet you'll see that behavior again!

For every 1 negative comment, criticism, yelling, etc . . you should give at least 6 positive comments (10 is better). This is how much people remember the negative stuff.

So people don't think I'm spouting off, I want to point out that I am a verbal behavior therapist, who is also working towards my master's in Applied Behavior Analysis.

Positive reinforcement is a product of B.F Skinner

07-11-05, 11:54 PM
I also think behavior modification gets a bad rep because it is something every parent does with their child. It gets a bad rep because too often, parents use negative reinforcement or punishment/aversive procedures (hitting, restraining, time out, etc) instead of positive reinforcement.

I think it's odd, and sad that something so easy as positive reinforcement gets lost in the shuffle.

07-14-05, 12:01 AM
It does get a bad rep; especially from those who don't understand it or from the actions of people who don't have the expertise to do it correctly.

07-14-05, 12:43 AM
Yes, and unfortunately way too many people hear "behavior modification" and think of abuse and immediately get on the defensive.

It's funny that that happens, because every single day people use (positive) behavior modification and don't even realize it!!

07-14-05, 10:19 PM
I've posted this several times, but the only therapy that works for hyperactive kids is behavior managment.

More specifically, a rewards based behavior management charting program that emphasizes a balance between rewards and natural & logical consequences.

07-14-05, 10:52 PM
I wanted to reply to this post because I agree that Positive Reinforcement works. And what you said about it being used properly is also very correct.

In the past school year many of the teachers in grades (especially Pre-k through 2nd grade) at my daughters' school use a positive behavior reward system. At first I thought it was great until my (then) first grader was coming home with GOBS of candy every day. I think that they (teacher & aide) were rewarding everything from being quiet to getting an A. While positive reinforcement is a great tool when it is used to such an extent, in my experience, the kids begin to think of the rewards as something they are entitled to versus something that should be earned through hard work and persistence and consistent good behavior. Besides what parent wants their 6 year old to come home from school hopped up on candy?
I am still trying to get a good positive reinforcement plan into place in our home. The problem that I have is the charts. I am terrible keeping up with them and finding rewards is a challenge with 3 kids. For instance, if we agree to earning money for chores, behavior, etc. I am paying out big time come pay day! As you can see from above I will not use candy as a reward, and little prizes only end up as little bits of broken toys on the floor. I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with something that would inspire the girls, be soft on the wallet and fair for all of them. Any ideas?

Also, I think I found a great chart at the local craft store. It's wooden and it has a metal background with little magnets to move around. I got one hoping I could use it for all 3 girls and after I got it home realized that I really need to get 2 more charts, it just won't work for all 3 girls. The things cost $20 a piece! :eek: Ah well, the joys of having 3 kids! Now, do y'all have any tips for me on how I can be more consistent and actually remember to use it? Plus, how I can keep the feeling good momentum going about using it?

I'm looking forward to your answers!

07-14-05, 11:41 PM
A home (or school) token system using poker chips for example, can be helpful in not only shaping a child's behavior but also in providing the much needed structure they require to help organize their home environment.

If something similar could be carried over to the school setting (or vice versa) it makes learning easier.

I've posted this before but the best behavior mod book I've ever seen on ADHD is:

The Parents Guide to Attention Deficit Stephen McCarney & Angela Marie Bauer....Hawthorne Press.

take care :)

07-14-05, 11:56 PM
Stacey, I'm sure you already know this, but the idea is to pick a target behaviour and rewards that have meaning to the person. Kids can earn time for activities or to be with people.

Rewards are frequent at the beginning and the goal is to fade out the reward by giving it less often.

07-15-05, 12:44 AM
Hi Stacey!

Sorry, this is a really long post, but I hope it's very useful to you.

I completely agree with you that too much positive reinforcement can turn into something that kids feel is entitled rather than earned. I'm not a parent, but if I were I certainly wouldn't want my child coming home with gobs of candy!
Which is why it's great that candy isn't the only possible reinforcer!

Where I work, the kids get, for example, one whole chip or a couple minutes to watch a movie for getting a new skill correct. For skills they get correct, but learned a while ago, they get just a small piece of chip or a few seconds of movie.

I think it's a good idea to pick only a handful of tasks you want them to work on at a time; too many can be overwhelming or earning too much reinforcement.Then change it up the tasks once in a while.

For reinforcers, I would talk with your girls and find out what are things they would love to have or do. Make a list together or go shopping together and put a monetary limit on the items, like nothing over $1.oo. A list is a great thing to have because your daughters shouldn't always use the same reinforcement. With a list, you know what items are reinforcing for each daughter. If they aren't motivated for their reinforcement, their behavior won't change. Unless your daughters are all motivated by the same thing, they should each have a list of reinforcement.
Dollar stores and thrift stores are wonderful places to go shopping!

Other ideas: alone time with mom, a movie at a theater, a day swimming at a pool or lake, a slumber party with friends, stay up later an extra hour, breakfast in bed, extra TV or computer time, get a free token, get out of doing a task, pizza and movie night, wearing PJ's all day long, picnic and kite at a park, the zoo, an arcade, they (or just one daughter) gets to choose the movie for movie night, favorite food night . . . . .

One other thing you can do - is use satiation and deprivation to help motivate your girls. Perhaps there is something you limit at home? Soda pop? any of the "other ideas?" treats? By limiting something they like (deprivation), you are (usually) creating them to be more motivated by it, or creating a different reinforcer.
Perhaps they have limited TV watching time (deprivation), so they can earn an extra 1/2 hour. If your girls are eating popcorn, you could be creating motivation to earn a soda pop (because salty stuff causes thirst).

This isn't necessarily to you, Stacey (I have a feeling other people could take what I'm saying, about deprivation and satiation, out of context) - but I want to note that I am not telling you (nor others) to deprive your daughters of something they need, deprive them of something they want. There is a big difference between the two.

The other thing you can do is use a token system. For each task or day they complete their task (to your satisfaction) they get a token (or magnet or sticker, etc). Then set up the number of tokens, they need to earn their reinforcement. This is usually soft on the wallet! It sounds like your girls are old enough to understand token reinforcement. Once they've earned the set number of tokens, let them choose the reinforcer from a list (either each has own list - or one list with all 3's possible reinforcers on it). Or, have them decide what the reinforcement is before they start earning each set of tokens. Token reinforcement would work great with the "other ideas" for reinforcement.

As for charts - you want to put them in a high traffic area. Where do you spend most of your time in your home?? That's where you should put it.

I'd also have your daughters be in charge of their charts. This could end up being secondary reinforcement for them. Just seeing their charts - what they've accomplished, how many tokens they have could make them very proud of themselves. Plus, they're learning responsibility.

The charts you found sound cool! If it's not possible buy 2 more - maybe you and your daughters can make the charts; they can decorate their own - something to be proud of. Use tag board, decorate, laminate each one - use velcro or magnets(something with sticky stuff on each side) to hold the tokens to the board - or use a dry erase marker or stickers to mark what they've accomplished.

The another suggestion I have is to make sure all rules/guidelines for earning reinforcement are set and expectations of each task, perhaps written out, before starting positive reinforcement, so no one is confused. This way you won't have any arguments.

My last suggestion is to surprise them once in a while (maybe every month or 2 weeks, 1 week, etc) with a special reinforcement if you catch one or all daughters doing something amazing. I always keep a special box filled with cheap, fun reinforcers (nail polish, silly string, water balloons, etc) just for me to give out - whenever I want.

I hope this post will help you, Stacey! I'd love to hear how positive reinforcement is working for your daughters once you've set it all up!


07-15-05, 12:51 AM
Thanks for the tips.

mctavish23, how do the poker chips work exactly? After so many are earned a big reward is given? Thanks for posting the book title once again. I'll be sure to get it.

Imnapl, yes I am aware of the weaning of the rewards - I wish the teacher had been aware as well.

The biggest problem I have right now with using time alone with me is that my husband is currently in Iraq and getting child care for the other 2 children is almost impossible. I have a neighbor that watches the kids for me when I have an appointment that I absolutely can't take them to but, I feel like I am imposing if I ask her to do more. And, where I am currently living (for just 25 more days - Yippee) is in short supply for childcare options.

BTW, we will be moving into post housing on August 10th and all of us couldn't be happier. We are currently living way out in the country and we are the token military family out here. It's been extremely hard on all of us. I have a feeling that some of the behavior problems and anger issues we are dealing with will subside some after we are settled into a neighborhood with other people who are like us. The girls are especially looking forward to starting school alongside other kids whose dads or moms are deployed. Wish us luck -- we certainly need it right now.

07-15-05, 01:17 AM
Stacey, it sounds like everyone is doing very well under the circumstances. Less than a month before you move. Take care.

07-15-05, 01:18 AM
Stacey -
The poker chips mctavish wrote about is the token system I wrote about (a token or a poker chip is an item you want to represent the reinforcement). There is no set number of tokens/poker chips that's ideal to everyone before getting a big reward.

You would have to decide how many tasks/target items they have to do before getting the reinforcement. It should depend on how many tasks/target items can they handle before being reinforced. You don't want too many to start out with, or they might lose their motivation.
Each time they complete a target item, they get a token. Gradually increase the number they have to earn before getting reinforcement.

If you can't do the time alone, it's no big deal. There are lots of other reinforcers that can motivate. Perhaps you could make a list of ones that are possible for you to do, then let them choose. You just have to make sure the options are motivating enough for them to do the target items/tasks.

Best wishes with the new housing, school, and community, Stacey and girls!

07-15-05, 01:20 AM
livinginchaos, you must've been posting while I was writing my! You gave me some wonderful ideas. I especially liked the idea of having them help create the list.

And, I am going to get 2 more of those charts. Take a look at them. I think they are great tools.

I think the biggest problem for us right at the moment is things are wildly chaotic around here due to hubby not being home, my own suspected ADD and of course I have 3 kids and summer vacation. I am well aware that this isn't good for any of us and I am doing my best to get us back on some kind of routine. I am considering employing a written out daily schedule for myself so that I can function. While I am not really a fan of those "Nanny" shows on TV, I have seem them write out a big family schedule for the families they are trying to help and I think I really need something like that. I am going to ask my daughter's therapist if she'll help me do this. She is the one who told me that we really need for everyday to be like the movie Groundhog Day so that my daughter, Emma, can function without anxiety.

Thanks again for all of the great ideas!

07-15-05, 01:30 AM
LOL . . . posted at the same time, again, Stacey!
I have a habit of talking a long time to write things to post. I need to make sure it's not all jumbled!!

Schedules are always a great idea!

That magnet board is so great!! What a good find. I'll have to tell my co-workers about it.

Best wishes, Stacey! If you have any more Q's ask away!

Menoma Minx
09-17-05, 05:08 PM
You know, I'm trying really hard right now.

I'm trying not to judge you by the profession you've chosen, but rather as an individual person.

I'm trying to overcome the fear that goes along with knowing that there are still people "treating" ADD affected people with a methodology completely inappropriate to someone cannot follow instructions consistently by their very nature.

I'm trying not to cry.

I'm trying to figure out how to get across you how harmful what you're proposing was to me personally, without having to relive the entire thing over again by writing about it.

I failed at the not crying thing, because I'm crying.

When I was 13, I was entered into a behavior modification program called "teaching family". You may have heard of them,as I understand they've operated in multiple states. What you probably didn't hear is what life is like in one of these places on everyday basis. What it's like to go for months and have every part of your personnel self worth and your personality itself ripped apart every single moment of your waking moments.

This didn't happen in the '70s and these kind of practices are still going on. I'm saying something because it's still going on -- because I wish someone had protected me by speaking up back then.

Let me tell you something, which maybe something you don't want to hear:

There is a very good reason behavior modification has a bad reputation -- especially among the ADD affected.

There are many very good reasons in fact, and these reasons have names, and faces, and are real people fully deserving in their basic human rights to individuality.

I was there. I lived it . Some part of me will continue living there until the day I die. Until you've been forced to live by the methodology you preach -- really 24 hours a day live it -- I question your right to whitewash the harm done to others.

09-17-05, 07:48 PM
Behavior modification (in part) came out of some of the original work of the B.F.Skinner.

Unscrupulous peope can turn anything into something it was not intended to be.

It's the people who inappropriately apply the techniques and the programs that create the bad reputation; much of which is deserved.

09-17-05, 10:18 PM
Menoma Minx - -

It sucks that that was your situation. I'm sorry you were the recipient of bad behavior modification. It really stinks that no one helped you get out of that situation.

To this day, some people still practice bad behavior modification. However, the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) is trying hard to weed out the bad apples with policies, law, education and certification.

Just because your situation was horrible doesn't mean all behavior modification programs are horrible. There are various types of behavior modification programs.

Everyday, I help children learn language and skills through behavior analysis. Everyday, I help children to not physically aggress, against themselves and others through behavior analysis. We help these kids through positive reinforcement.

If it weren't for the program I work with, these kids wouldn't have any functional communication and they would be aggressing against any one they can get their hands on.

I'm not whitewashing one bit, Menoma Minx - I'm trying to educate people. In my post, I wrote that I am aware of the horrendous things that have happened with behavior modification.

I'm guessing that the behavior modification program you were in did not use positive reinforcement. My posts have been about using positive reinforcement to work on behavior, rather than aversive or punishment.

mctavish is right - - some of the bad reputation behavior modification has has been deserved, because of people who inappropriately apply techniques. Watson, the father of behaviorism contributed to much of this reputation.
BF Skinner, the father of behavior analysis worked so hard on correcting this reputation, through use of positive reinforcement.

Every single day, people encounter positive reinforcement, Menoma Minx.

I could say to you, "wow - I love that hair cut. It frames your face perfectly and makes your eyes pop."

What do you think would happen? You're more likely to continue to get your hair cut in that style next time you go to your hair stylist.

"Great shirt!! That color is amazing on you!" If I were to say that to anyone - that person is likely to not only wear that shirt again - but try to find other pieces of clothing in that color.

Have you ever said to yourself (something like), "after I study, I get to watch TV."

All of these examples are positive reinforcement.

The kids I work with, we use edibles and toys to reinforce behavior we want to see more of. It's absolutely amazing to hear a child say their first word when they're 4.5 years old, especially after working on language intensively for 6 months. I can't describe the joy I felt and I'm not even the kid's parent.

Want to know how we did it? We reinforced sounds he made with something that motivated him. We would give him food that he loved and/or a movie he really enjoyed whenever he made sounds. We praised the daylights out of him everytime he made sounds. Other times, he got to swing, jump on the trampoline, spin in circles.
All of this positive reinforcement helped a child learn to talk. I don't see how helping a child learn to talk, via positive reinforcement is harming him.

I'd probably be soured against behavior modification if I had an experience like yours, Menoma Minx.

But, I hope that you now realize that the program you were involved in isn't the only program out there and that some behavior modification programs are good.

09-20-05, 01:52 PM
Thank for your post.That was really cool to read how you use shaping to help with language development.

I teach parents how to establish and maintain a rewards based behavior managemnt program at home.

In the history of experimental psych, punishment has never been shown to work in changing long term behavior.

On our first day in class in 1973, the instructor made mention of the fact that "punishment only works in the presence of the punishing agent."

No one that I know in a clinical practice uses anything different than I do.

Once again, this is evidenced based (research derived).

Part of the teaching tho, has to do with getting parents to stop being so negative and look at the other side of the equation; which is the only one thats been shown to work for ADHD.

take care

mctavish23 (Robert)

09-22-05, 12:19 AM
Robert. This defines the message that seems to be most important just now for us as we coax the school into adhering to new (ish) division policy regarding kids like out adhd/odd daughter. We have the physiologist and the behaviour specialist out front, so we are not having to make the push ourselves which is wonderful.

Over and over now when I'm called upon to speak to the main issues, I find myself focusing on this single point of playing on the strengths and building a safer environment for learning based on a more positive focus from the teachers and administrators to the kids in question.

My pet learning just now is setting the little devils up for success. Create situations where they have to win. Even in a disciplinary action, I now try and make the first couple of segments a "gimme". It works wonders. What a little bit of success, even if it's staged and handed to them on a platter can have. Some of these kids have precious little experience with what it feels like to "do it right" and then be praised for it.

Teaching these kids by punishment is futile. It never helped me and it sure did a heck of a lot of damage to my self image and self esteem. I'm middle aged and still digging out. Self care is getting better. The self talk is a way more positive than I remember it being when I was ten years younger. Life, not survival is my goal.

I think the message must be seeping into the kids here. My middle daughter took the soccer coach aside and gave him a little pep talk about how to build moral this week. To his credit, this long standing member of the community took no time in shifting gears and trying on some different ways of reviewing games and practises. Boo was all over him with support and respectful thanks as follow up. What a kid. I hope she goes into teaching.

As always, thanks for sharing your insight Robert.
Strength to you.

09-22-05, 02:59 AM
Positive reinforcement is so easy to deliver. I feel that it's a simple method of behavior modification that a lot of people overlook. It promotes communication, self esteem and learning.

Robert - do you find that the parents you teach stick with the rewards based behavior management prorams?

Punishing a behavior definitely does not have a lasting effect and only makes people more upset, frustrated, and low self esteem.

I think that people don't look at consequences (positive, negative, aversive and punishment) and ask themselves if the consequences are changing the behavior. If the consequences don't change behavior, then new consequence(s) need to be implemented.

My favorite example of that is yelling. People yell at their kids, their kids learn to yell back. It accomplishes nothing, yet parents don't stop to ask themselves if it's changing the kid's behavior (it could be - but usually in an inappropriate way, like yelling back, rebelling, aggression). So, now they have a kid who yells and, due to the frustration of not being heard, could become aggressive.

Ian - that's so great your daughter pulled her coach aside
Congrats on being a great teacher!

09-22-05, 09:10 AM
Ian - that's so great your daughter pulled her coach aside
Congrats on being a great teacher!
Everything I learnt, I learnt from my wife. She's the guru in these matters not me. :) I'm lucky to remain open to change so I can help support her efforts.
Cheers! Ian

09-22-05, 09:33 AM
If they're (untreated/undiagnosed) adult ADHD's, of which at least one of them will be, it makes it extremely difficult for them to be consistent. That happens for the same reason the child needs the strucuture in the first place.

Inevitably, when I'm doing a diagnostic assessment/intake, I go into an intro on the importance of the criteria, some of the different definitions and some history of ADHD. We then go over the symptoms ,making sire they understand the need for their to be an "impairment."

At some point, one or both of the parents will usually comment on how that sounds just like them,etc.

I then add some handouts ( to what I"ve already given them ) on adult ADHD for them to look over at their convenience.

03-12-06, 04:12 AM
Everytime I have encountered someone using Cognitive, Behavioural Therapy the therapist asks me to do things which stretch believabity to the limit. They say we *create* our emotions and that we can control the. They never have a good answer when I ask about situations where the emotions are clearly appropriate in the situation. By their reasoning I should be able to take a a truly devastating death and react to it in a way of my choosing. I just cannot accept many of their concepts.

I believe that emotions are real and that its best not to tamper with the appropriate ones and treat the problematic ones with some level of respect. By that I mean that we expereinece what we do for some reason, good or bad, and sugesting that these are subject to change just with our will power is just not good.

In general, if I find a therapist using those concepts, I leave. In my reading many years ago I had a book on CGT and there was an example of a therapist trying to get a gay man to be straight. The man was genuinely distressed that he was gay and the therapist reinforced that mistaken belief and went on attempting to change the way someone was born.

Thanks, but no thanks to this kind of therapy. At best in the hands of a real professional it is a band aid treatment and at its worst it can do a lot of damage. It is certainly *not* a first line treatment for ADHD.


03-12-06, 09:37 AM
Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinions, Katakak.

Research proves that taking meds and using behavior therapy is the best treatment for people w/ ADHD.

Meds can work great - but it doesn't hit every issue that ADHD can cause. That's where behavior therapy can come in and fill in the gaps.
You say that behavior therapy is putting on a bandaid - well, the same goes for meds.
Unfortunately, until etiology and cure is found, everything is a bandaid.

By the way, the behavior therapy I discuss is not cognitive in the way you are writing about it- it's behavior therapy. It's not changing people's emotions, it's changing observable behavior that is unwanted.
It's the person who has the unwanted behavior who wants to change it.

For me, for instance, i'm working on changing how I clean my apartment and organize it. I'm using a system of goals and charts and positive reinforcement to modify my behavior.

For the kids I work with, it's using positive reinforcement to teach them how to learn.

03-12-06, 10:36 AM
What about trying to positively reinforce behaviors that a person cannot do?

For example, positively reinforcing an ADHD student to sit still when s/he physically cannot do it. I would think that even if the person doing the behavior modification is using positive reinforcement it would still be frustrating becuase it is impossible to do the behavior for which the reward is desired.

I know that this falls under the umbrella of people not understanding it, becuase you would choose behaviors for modification that are within the person's ability but this still happens even though the teacher/therapist... is trying to be positive.
I get frustrated when a reward is offered for something I cannot do.

03-12-06, 02:43 PM
I completely understand your frustration, Chloe.

When I teach a child something he doesn't have in his repertoire, we use prompts to teach.

If someone is trying to get you to sit still, and only rewarding if you can sit still, but it's something you cannot do, they're going about it completely wrong. If they're not prompting you or reinforcing you in smaller increments, you cannot learn how to sit still, because you're not being successful.

there are numerous ways to teach things, and here's what immediately comes to mind:

I would start with timing how long you can sit still. Although you say you cannot sit still - you can. You just can't sit still for a certain length of time.

I would take how long you can sit still and use it as my baseline and determine how long you can sit and use that as my first increment of time.
Meaning, I would say - you sit still for 10 seconds, and you get a cookie for reinforcement (or whatever is motivating). Once you've mastered sitting still for 10 seconds, i'd next go to 12 seconds. Then 15, 20, 25, 30 seconds and so on, adjusting the time as needed.

The small increments would make you more successful than jumping from 10 to 20 t0 30, etc.

If a teacher or therapist isn't helping to make the person successful by making goals the person could succeed at they're not too good at modifying behaviors and shouldn't be attempting it.

When I teach a new behavior, we always use prompts to teach the child what we are looking for. If we don't use prompts, they're not going to learn.

As I said before, Chloe, I completely understand your frustration, because you shouldn't have goals you can't possibly reach. The teacher/therapist should be adjusting your goals as needed and helping you to succeed with them.

03-12-06, 03:25 PM
I'm a board certified Diplomate in Psychotherapy by the National Board of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists.

I don't use CBT for hyperactive children because it doesn't work.

Only a rewards based behavior management program/home token economy works for that population.

I therefore use Family therapy as a means of teaching the parents how to establish and consistently maintain it.

My practice is 90-95 % chiildren with (all types) of ADHD, between the ages of 6-19 years old.

For those kids who don't have ADHD, I find that using guided visual imagery with cog-behavioral thought stopping techniques can be helpful; depending on the child and the situation.

In this day and age you have to be "eclectic."

My goal is to try and help the child in a safe and effective manner.

I routinely give out a handout I developed abut 10-11 yrs ago on "Informed Consent."

In it, I describe the various types of therapies and therapeutic techniques I use as part of an evidence based practice.

By acknowledging an 'evidenced based" practice, I'm saying that I'll only use therapies and techniques actually found to work for whatever the problem happens to be.

For lots of little kids, that means Play Therapy.

I'm simply going to use what works.

03-12-06, 04:31 PM
I was just using the sitting still thing as an example, but I know I have experienced that frustration when I was younger, my parents ended up giving up on having me sit still! ;)

It does make sense to try different strategies. I think that everyone, especially those working with children, should learn proper behavior modification and management techniques. As well as which behaviors are able to be modified and which are not.

03-12-06, 05:37 PM

You've raised an excellent point.

The reason something like cognitive-behavioral therapy doesn't work is that the reinforcement must take place at the "point of performance'" which means where the behavior took place.

Therefore, anything learned in a therpist's office, such as trying to teach relaxation skills, etc., to a hyperactive kid won't work.

I would recommend reading some of the work of George Dupaul.

He's a noted school psychologist, who's researched treating ADHD in the classroom.

Theoretically, it could be done to some extent in a classroom, however, I don't think that not being able to sit still is really that much of an impediment to learning.

For example, the "Brain Gym" approach, which is like Occupational therapy, advocates movement during the learning process.

03-12-06, 05:44 PM
I just rmembered something that I 'd like to add.

Currently, I have a number of ADHD kids with IEP's for Learning DIsabilities, who are also on meds, failing in school.

The reason for this is that ADHD isn't being addresses at all.

The truth is that ADHD is the primary problem.

What's happening is that they do their work and either lose it or foget to turn it in, or not complete their classroom work on time;meaning with the rest of the class.

Those behviors are documented ADHD impairments for which the child will NEVER accomplish, if held to the same standard as the non-ADHD chid.

03-12-06, 06:49 PM
I focus better when I fidget, so I teach my ADHD students appropriate ways to fidget. I give stress balls, teach them to shake their leg... unfortunately, not all people see it that way and try to get them to sit still. I have one student who has grown tremendously in his ability to exhert his excess energy in appropriate ways. :D It took a while to teach him to use the stress ball and to wiggle his legs if he needs to, but he now does it independently and asks for the stress ball when he feels he needs it! I am so proud of him. :D

Some people told me to just give him one of those inflatable seat cushions for him, but I am a big proponent of teaching the children strategies they can use any place, and it is not practical to carry around an inflatable cushion. I know it has its place, and some cannot monitor their needs enough to know when they need to fidget and they need that. But I tried my method (keeping in mind he may not be ready) with the student and he is doing so well without the cushion and I feel better about that because he can use the stress ball and leg shaking strategies anywhere. I taught him by modeling a lot. Definitely helpful that I have ADHD and cannot sit still either! ;) He would tell me he was surprised at how long I was sitting and would just remind him to look at my feet (always going a mile a minute). I also talked to and modeled for the whole class, so he was hearing and seeing this a lot. I would also remind him when I noticed he was having difficulty and would praise him when he would independently remember the strategies.

I will check into that Dupaul person. I know one of my difficulties is helping them when I still have a hard time helping myself. Getting better at that, but still not where I would like to be. I'm just learning though, so I figure I'm off to a good start! :D

03-12-06, 08:35 PM
Inflatable seat cushions would probably mutate into whoopee cushions for an ADHD boy (or bored adult ) :)