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Extra information to help with ADHD


Latest

by Melanie Hartgill

Behaviour modification tips and tips for providing emotional support to children with ADHD.

Behaviour Modification

  • Star charts work well with children with attention difficulties.
  • Target one (maximum two) behaviours at a time.
  • Be very specific about what behaviour is being targeted (e.g. “Brushing teeth after breakfast without being reminded” or “Sitting down to do homework without arguing and after being asked only once”).
  • You cannot have things such as “being good” (too subjective and vague) or “getting ready in the mornings” (involves too many steps and therefore too difficult) on the charts.
  • Demand 100% compliance or no star. (Children quickly learn to manipulate these charts if you do not do this.)
  • Rewards must be negotiated upfront.
  • First reward needs to be received after 5 stars (10 is too long to wait.)
  • Slightly bigger rewards can be given at 10 stars and then another reward after 20 stars.
  • The star chart concept also works well with older children although they do not want an actual chart displayed on the kitchen fridge!
  • If the reward suits the child then they will work for it (e.g. “If you sit down and do your homework everyday this week without any arguments, I will top up the airtime on your cell phone.)

Provide Emotional Support (I CARE)

I - Interrupt

  • Move people or objects.
  • Send child off in different direction.
  • Make use of code words.

C - Cool Off

  • Positive time out.
  • Send child to a quiet, relaxing or calming place.
  • Encourage them to write down their concerns or simply lie on their bed and calm down.
  • Use time to release anger (Remember rule: You may not hurt anyone or break anything when angry).
  • Use this time to gather your own composure.

A - Affirm

  • Convey empathy for your child’s feelings.
  1. Listening (“Tell me more about how you feel.”)
  2. Understanding (“I understand how you feel.”)
  3. Accepting (“I accept your feelings as real and valid from your point of view.”)
  4. Identifying (“I would feel that way too.”)
  5. Caring (“I wish you happiness and don’t want you to have this painful feeling.”)
  6. Desire to help (“How can I help you so that you will feel better?”)
  7. Universal empathy statement “This is a hard time for you, isn’t it?”

R - Redirect

  • Steer child in a new direction.
  • “Fun Ideas” list is often useful here.
  • Usually best to redirect only after the next step (Educate).

E - Educate

  • Explain in simple terms the domino effects of misbehaviour as well as the natural consequences.
  • Try to identify the needs that your child is trying to meet through the behaviour and then teach more appropriate ways of meeting these needs.
  • Use problem-solving approach. (Child needs to generate two or three options before acting. Encourage a STOP – THINK – ACT approach.)
  • Also teach child to make reparation for behaviour (Sometimes saying sorry is enough!)
  • Then redirect (see above.)

About the author:
Melanie Hartgill
Educational Psychologist
Pr. no. 0860000115134
Specialising in: Assessments (educational, psychological, school readiness, emotional and career), Learning Disabilities, Parenting Issues and Training and Child Development 
Visit Melanie's Q&A page





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Extra information to help with ADHD

Latest

Extra information to help with ADHD

by Melanie Hartgill

Behaviour modification tips and tips for providing emotional support to children with ADHD.

Behaviour Modification

  • Star charts work well with children with attention difficulties.
  • Target one (maximum two) behaviours at a time.
  • Be very specific about what behaviour is being targeted (e.g. “Brushing teeth after breakfast without being reminded” or “Sitting down to do homework without arguing and after being asked only once”).
  • You cannot have things such as “being good” (too subjective and vague) or “getting ready in the mornings” (involves too many steps and therefore too difficult) on the charts.
  • Demand 100% compliance or no star. (Children quickly learn to manipulate these charts if you do not do this.)
  • Rewards must be negotiated upfront.
  • First reward needs to be received after 5 stars (10 is too long to wait.)
  • Slightly bigger rewards can be given at 10 stars and then another reward after 20 stars.
  • The star chart concept also works well with older children although they do not want an actual chart displayed on the kitchen fridge!
  • If the reward suits the child then they will work for it (e.g. “If you sit down and do your homework everyday this week without any arguments, I will top up the airtime on your cell phone.)

Provide Emotional Support (I CARE)

I - Interrupt

  • Move people or objects.
  • Send child off in different direction.
  • Make use of code words.

C - Cool Off

  • Positive time out.
  • Send child to a quiet, relaxing or calming place.
  • Encourage them to write down their concerns or simply lie on their bed and calm down.
  • Use time to release anger (Remember rule: You may not hurt anyone or break anything when angry).
  • Use this time to gather your own composure.

A - Affirm

  • Convey empathy for your child’s feelings.
  1. Listening (“Tell me more about how you feel.”)
  2. Understanding (“I understand how you feel.”)
  3. Accepting (“I accept your feelings as real and valid from your point of view.”)
  4. Identifying (“I would feel that way too.”)
  5. Caring (“I wish you happiness and don’t want you to have this painful feeling.”)
  6. Desire to help (“How can I help you so that you will feel better?”)
  7. Universal empathy statement “This is a hard time for you, isn’t it?”

R - Redirect

  • Steer child in a new direction.
  • “Fun Ideas” list is often useful here.
  • Usually best to redirect only after the next step (Educate).

E - Educate

  • Explain in simple terms the domino effects of misbehaviour as well as the natural consequences.
  • Try to identify the needs that your child is trying to meet through the behaviour and then teach more appropriate ways of meeting these needs.
  • Use problem-solving approach. (Child needs to generate two or three options before acting. Encourage a STOP – THINK – ACT approach.)
  • Also teach child to make reparation for behaviour (Sometimes saying sorry is enough!)
  • Then redirect (see above.)

About the author:
Melanie Hartgill
Educational Psychologist
Pr. no. 0860000115134
Specialising in: Assessments (educational, psychological, school readiness, emotional and career), Learning Disabilities, Parenting Issues and Training and Child Development 
Visit Melanie's Q&A page