1.22 Behavior Therapy (Psychosocial Interventions) for Managing ADHD
Behavior therapy is one of the two research-validated interventions proven most effective in the management of ADHD. Medication alone may be sufficient in reducing symptoms of ADHD and problematic behavior for some children. Behavioral therapy combined with medication therapy is often the optimal intervention for many children with ADHD, providing the greatest improvement in the child's functioning, behavior, and relationships. For any child not receiving medication, behavior therapy is essential to treat and manage the disorder.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for treating ADHD in children (AAP, 2011), primary care physicians should prescribe behavior therapy as the first line of treatment for preschool-age children (four through five years of age), and for children ages six through eleven, the physician should prescribe FDA-approved medications for ADHD or evidence-based behavior therapy (administered by parents and the teacher) as treatment for ADHD—preferably both.
Behavior therapy requires training of the parent and teacher in behavior modification techniques and the commitment of the adult to implement strategies learned. This is not easy; it takes time and effort, but the benefits are worth it.
Behavior therapy helps adults improve children's behavior by learning behavioral principles and strategies to implement in managing problem behavior, with professional guidance.
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