Rewards may work like drugs for children with ADHD.

children reward adhd medication brain researchA 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.