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ADD: Modifying the Poor Behavior of a Child with an Attention Disorder

Many children with an attention disorder also exhibit poor behavior. Why is this common? Children who have difficulties maintaining attention may regularly self-stimulate in ways, which are disruptive to others.In the classroom this behavior is presented as distracting to other children and often is frustrating to teachers. Although negative attention is given to a child when he or she misbehaves, the child is still rewarded with attention.Additionally, the child misbehaves because they might think he or she will get their way. All to often, this mechanism of reward is successful for the child and the child’s teachers, parents and caregivers reinforce the cycle of poor behavior.

So how does this cycle of poor behavior get interrupted? The child’s parents, teachers and caregivers need to form an alliance and determine the behaviors that need to be modified. Next, they should look at the way they react to the child’s poor behaviors. Are they rewarding the child with the attention that the child seeks out? The goal is to decrease the reward the child receives for the negative behaviors and increase the rewards for the positive behaviors. Find incentives that are motivating for the child. This may vary from child to child. Finally, follow through with your plan with consistency.

When your child’s behavior has improved, not only will the home life develop, academics and social life will soon follow!

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