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Top Ten Nondrug ADHD Recommendations

by Dr. Gary Eisenberg of www.Denver-eval.com

  1. Because of the youngster's school misbehavior, use an in-school ticket system. Such a ticket system would allow the teacher to rate the youngster's behavior four times a day. Only two behaviors a day should be rated. For example, focusing and completing work. The tickets should return home then with a maximum of eight "smiley faces." Should the youngster succeed in six or more, he/she will receive his/her usual afternoon privileges. Four or below might be met with some consequences such as time out or work detail.

    Give child a happy face or sad face for each square therefore rating him 4 times a day. Child would receive reward for 6 or more happy faces. 5 is a wash. Parents have the option of privilege loss at less than 5 happy faces. Morning work Play Time Lunch Time Afternoon Work Hands on Others Paying Attention

  2. The best nondrug method for helping ADHD is physical movement. Multiple studies have shown that movement reboots focus. I recommend bouncy bands (check their website) or wiggle cushions. Many kinds of chairs incorporating movement are helping children at home and in school.. Rocker chairs, spinner chairs and adjustable height works stations have all been helpful.
    At homework time, make sure a child has 3 coins. They can exchange those coins for a 7 minute exercise break (treadmill, bed bouncing, running the stairs or jumping jacks). When they feel stressed or hyper they can turn in a coin and receive their break. When the 3 are gone their exercise time is done for the night.

  3. Drill in the meaning of focus. Focus equals one being seated, back against chair, eyes on paper and listening. The child should learn to do a "body inventory" when they are asked to focus. Focus should become a household word e.g. comments can be made about whether other family members are focusing. HELP THE CHILD READ THEIR OWN BODY AND LOOK FOR GOOD FOCUS BEHAVIOR. Hint: the eyes tell all.

  4. Homework should be completed in the same place and at the same time daily. Prior to starting homework, parent and child should have a meeting to decide on subgoals. For instance, after each section is completed child should take a short break before returning to schoolwork. Parents should wean themselves away from their child by only checking them at regular intervals. Should they be struggling, the parents should not answer or complete their work, but merely give them hints so that they are empowered to complete it themselves.

  5. Children who co-sleep may have difficulty with self-soothing which will negatively affect focus. To remove a child from parent's bed you would use a graduated mechanism. I recommend first having the child sleep on the side of the parents' bed for a week in a sleeping bag or similar bedding. The sleeping bag could then be moved further from the parent on the second week. At a time that is announced to the child, and is preceded by warning on the calendar, the child then goes to bed in their room. Parent then lays with them until partly sleepy. Upon leaving the room they play a tape recording of PARENT'S OWN VOICE READING THE CHILD'S FAVORITE STORIES, EVEN IF THEY ARE OLDER. The tape should last for 30 min and then shut itself off. In future weeks, parent's laying time is reduced.

    Should the child get out of bed in the middle of the night, they are promptly returned to their bed and the tape is played again. This way they have the comfort of your voice without your physical presence.

  6. Techniques include limiting the amount of "sincere talks" and converting to a system of more natural consequences. Hence, their misbehavior could be reinforced in their parent's negatives. For instance a natural consequence for failing to put away dishes, is to spend an extra ten minutes washing the entire family's dishes.

  7. Break assignments into 10-minute segments. Gradually increase the length and difficulty of the assignments as the student demonstrates success. Never answer a homework question….only give hints that gradually get closer to the answer. Help the child think!

  8. Permit the student who is easily distracted by noises to use a headset with white noise or music of the student's choice. (Some students prefer headsets without any noise). If the student elects to use music and works appropriately, the music can be used. If the student abuses the privilege, the privilege is lost.

  9. Common sense ADHD interventions:
    • a) Discussing with the child what attention is and what it is not.
    • b) Helping the child understand what attention and non-attention is in others.
    • c) Demonstrate selective attention by having the child try to focus with competing stimuli e.g. radio, ringing phone, etc.
    • d) Role plays using good focusing behavior
    • e) Play games to see how long attention can be maintained in various situations. www.additudemag.com/focus-games-for-children-with-adhd-attention-problems

  10. In class, allow frequent opportunities for physical movement. This decreases the ADHD student's restlessness and overactivity.
    • a) Use interactive teaching activities, such as class discussions, group projects, board work. i. Allow extra time for the transition back to quiet activities. Sometimes a student may not be able to handle transitions.
    • b) Allow the student to make a trip to the office, sharpen a pencil, take a note to another teacher, get a drink, etc.
    • c) Provide the restless student with a small squeeze toy or an eraser with which to fidget during times of needed concentration.
    • d) Permit the student to doodle during listening activities. Doodling allowing fine motor movement, which decreases the need for physical movement.

Dr. Gary Eisenberg is a former Psychology Professor and currently an instructor for Summit Education, Dr. Eisenberg teaches nationally on alternative and traditional therapies for ADHD and Autism. His office is in Littleton, Colorado. You can reach him at: www.Denver-eval.com


Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.

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