A research study conducted at Nottingham University in the UK found that immediate reward in the form of points in a video game had a similar effect on brain activity as stimulant medication. Based on EEG results, the team found that both the rewards and the child’s usual dose of stimulant medication resulted in the normalization of brain regions and improved task completion though the medication yielded a slightly higher effect.
The researchers cautioned that immediate consequences in this case, reward are associated with positive effects on behavior in ADHD children. They stated that it may be difficult for parents and teachers to provide rewards immediately. However, other research shows than children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder actually respond as well or better to social reinforcement such as a smile as they do to tangible reinforcers like points, tokens or money. This means that a smile or a brief word of encouragement may achieve significant benefits and could reduce or eliminate the need for medication for some children.
Years of research and current professional guidelines indicate that behavioral interventions should be tried first before medication except of children with severe symptoms. However, many parents find it difficult to find an effective, affordable and user friendly option for behavioral interventions. Total Focus is a comprehensive behavioral program using evidence-based techniques to improve behavior, learning, self-esteem and social skills. Parents and children work together as a team to bring about real lasting change involving activities that are fun and require less than an hour per day. Total Focus costs less than one visit to a mental health professional.
I have long believed that behavioral therapy is the key to helping kids with ADHD. In fact, a new study on ADHD said that comprehensive behavioral therapy works as well as medication over the long haul. Also, earlier studies showed that after 14 months, 30% of the behavioral therapy group did just as well as those with medication. Of course, there are no side effects to behavioral therapy—except, perhaps, much happier parents and kids.
The results of this research show that 3 years from the start of the study, there was no difference in the amount of improvement between four different treatment methods. Three of the methods used medication alone or in combination with behavioral therapy, one used behavior therapy only. All four groups demonstrated significant improvement in symptoms, but the amount of improvement was the same for all of them. The research also showed slight reduction in predicted height and weight for those taking medication. I developed The Total Focus Program, after having worked with kids with ADHD for more than 20 years and parenting my own son with ADHD.
I think it works because it’s a comprehensive behavioral intervention package that helps both parents and kids learn to not only cope with ADHD, but to overcome it. The format makes it easier for parents and kids to work on getting the help they need into their busy schedules
Imagine that you are living inside of a video game, where everything is coming at you at once and every sight, sound and sensation is a distraction. For a child with ADHD, getting through a typical day is something like that—and it explains a great deal about how they experience the world. Children with ADHD typically have impairment of functions such as concentration, memory, impulse control, processing speed and an inability to follow directions. If you’re a parent of a child with ADD or ADHD, this most likely sounds all too familiar. Over the years, you’ve probably struggled through homework sessions with your child, tried (and failed) to get them to complete certain tasks like cleaning their room or finishing yard work, and on more than one occasion, you’ve probably felt completely drained by their high energy and seeming inability to focus.
The good news is, there is something you can do to help your ADHD child improve their concentration skills. For years it was thought that each of us was born with a generous supply of brain cells, but that we were unable to produce additional cells or make changes in how they function. Fairly recently, neuroscientists discovered the presence of something called “neuroplasticity” which enables the brain to actually grow additional cells or modify the function of existing cells. Amazingly, cognitive exercises have been found to produce desired changes in not only how the brain works, but how itlooks. What this means for parents is that you now have the ability to work with your child to help improve their ADHD symptoms. Continue reading →