Let’s talk about what can be done to assist children with ADHD treatment. Evidence in our favour suggests the ability to outgrow ADHD while others indicate a more permanent and persistent nature from childhood into adulthood. Curing or managing ADHD, however, follows the same path. As each case is unique, the degree and extent of symptoms may vary, hence, each case needs to be treated uniquely. As ADHD is multifaceted and multidimensional, an integrative or holistic approach is recommended in the treatment of ADHD. In other words, treatment needs to be tackled from a biological and psychosocial perspective (Barlow & Durand, 2005).

The biological treatment which focuses on drug therapy is aimed at treating the three overarching symptoms of ADHD which include attention, impulsivity and hyperactivity (Barlow & Durand, 2005).

Laura E. Berk (2013) highlights that with carefully monitored doses with one’s trusted doctor, drug therapy can have a significant impact on managing and treating ADHD symptoms. The author further suggests that stimulant medication enhances brain activity resulting in reduced self- stimulating behaviour and distractibility (Berk, 2013). It must be noted that stimulants have some known side effects, thus a risk vs benefit analysis is advocated in this case.

In terms of psychosocial treatment or behavioural intervention, the focus is on improving scholastic performance, teaching or enhancing social skills, and minimising the effects of destructive and disruptive behaviour (Barlow & Durand, 2005). At the Star Academy, a behavioural technique called ABA therapy (applied behavioural analysis) is used to manage ADHD. ABA therapy is an empirical, pragmatic and evidence-based therapy that develops the desired behaviour and teaches children via associations to develop new skills. Techniques used by an ABA instructor to help guide ADHD treatment include and is not limited to:

  • Utilizing reinforcement and reward systems to bolster preferred behaviour
  • Techniques for improving social behaviour
  • Goals setting which facilitates sustaining attention
  • Behaviour management so that the child can learn to self-regulate

There is strong evidence to support the consistent implementation of ABA principles from the therapy room, social relationships and other social environments in order to acquire the desired results.

It is also further proposed that ABA instruction is most effective in treatment when prescribed in the early years of life and for longer periods of time. The Star Academy provides an opportunity for the implementation of ABA instruction through school facilitation and parent training. The Star Academy can effectively help contribute to the treatment of ADHD and add in making a valuable contribution to a child living with and fighting ADHD in their everyday life.

By Ashleigh Van Der Westhuizen

References

Barlow, D. H., & Durand, V. M. (2005). Abnormal Psychology: An integrative approach (Fourth Edition). United States of America: Thomson Wadsworth.

Berk, L. E. (2013). Child Development (Ninth Edition). Boston, USA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Shaffer, D. R. (2002). Developmental psychology childhood and adolescence (Sixth edition). United States of America: Wadsworth: Thomson Learning.