” How do I convince him to sit down and do homework? What do I tell him not to get up while eating? Is there any way to help you improve your jobs? What do I do to make myself heard? … “If you have a child with hyperactivity, these and many other questions have passed through your head a thousand times. The answers? Give you a series of strategies that we explain to you next.
The symptoms that characterize the ” Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ” ( ADHD ) are impulsivity , hyperactivity and low attention . But, undoubtedly, what helps to detect it is to observe if a child frequently manifests the following behaviors:
- His behavior is childish for his age, excessively restless and dependent ; More typical of a younger child.
- He struggles to concentrate, does not maintain attention when necessary.
- It is disorganized and usually does the work with a low quality.
- Often leaves jobs unfinished or interrupts games .
- He is continually getting up when he should be sitting, for example, in class or at lunchtime .
- He is very impulsive , he does things without meditating previously.
- He moves his hands and feet a lot.
- Usually interrupting others when they are talking or doing some activity.
- He is always running and jumping, as if he had a motor running.
- He has difficulty interacting with other children because he is always changing his game, he does not respect the turns and he does not follow the rules of the group.
- He often loses things or forgets them .
- He is disobedient and his behavior provokes the complaints of his teachers.
If your child meets some of the points listed here, it may be advisable to go to a professional to diagnose or rule out hyperactivity disorder.
Techniques and strategies to help the hyperactive child
The way to treat ” Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity ” is to modify or compensate as much as possible those typical behaviors that have a negative impact on the daily life of the child and his family. The main objective is to reduce your impulsivity and motor restlessness and increase your attention, which are the source of your main problems . The behaviourist and cognitivist psychopedagogical currents offer different strategies to treat hyperactivity. The behavioral current focuses on how the environment in which the child moves (family, teachers, etc.) interacts with the child to manipulate this interaction and modify the behavioral patterns. The cognitivist current acts directly on the child teaching him to exercise his own control through the training in strategies.
Behavioral Current: Changing Inappropriate Behavior Through the Environment
To modify certain attitudes, such as aggressiveness or disobedience , techniques of behavioral change are used that are based on behavioral psychology. The basis of all of them is the idea that all behavior is a learned way of responding to certain circumstances. When what we get when responding in a certain way is good, pleasant or serves our purposes, that response is established in us, that is, we learn it and whenever we see ourselves in similar circumstances we respond equally. On the contrary, if with our performance we do not achieve what was expected, we dismiss the response as ” invalid ” and we stop using it.
This means that your attitude is fundamental when it comes to managing your child’s, as it is the one that gives you the information of whether your answers are appropriate and serve your purposes or, conversely, you should replace them with others . Parents may inadvertently encourage inappropriate responses. A very clear example is when you give in to a whim , which has been denied at first, to contain a tantrum . The conclusion of the child on this occasion is clear (and very logical): “angry, shouting and throwing things with what I want.” Result: each time will resort more often to the tantrums .
Behavior change techniques do is control the consequences of actions by making them pleasant, through “positive reinforcement,” or unpleasant by “punishment . “ Those behaviors of the child followed by a ” positive reinforcement” will be learned as useful and will be repeated; Those others that accompany a negative consequence will disappear. Reinforcements can be very varied. At the beginning, when an attitude is very established, resorting to material rewards (a toy, a bauch, etc.).
Later this type of reinforcement is restricted so that the child does not do things for the prize but because he has really acquired new attitudes with which he feels more satisfied. For this, from the beginning (along with the material rewards) and over time (when they have already been eliminated) the child should receive social reinforcements such as hugs, praises or any other manifestation of affection for how well he has acted. On the other hand the negative consequences, always related to the behaviors that we want to eliminate, will be things like to remain without seeing the television or to collect the room, but never physical punishment. In addition, any negative consequences must be accompanied by reinforcement of alternative behavior.
How can you apply all this?
One way is to make a deal with your child. Think of something you would like to change, for example, not to get up from the table while eating. You have already established the general objective. Now, depending on the problem, think about when and how you will reinforce the behavior change: if your child does not last more than three minutes at a time, he begins by reinforcing that he can be seated for at least five minutes. The easier it is to meet the goal, the longer you wait until you finally receive the prize only if all the food remains without getting up.
The next step is to agree the prize or reinforcement. In this case the most appropriate is a system of exchangeable points or tokens. Make a list of things that you would like to do or get and put each item a value according to its characteristics: a candy 2 points, half an hour with the computer 8 points, go to the cinema 14 points, buy a toy Determined 20 points, etc. All that is left to do is to put it into practice: every time your child meets the goal marked refuérale with a point and when you want to redeem them give him the reward that corresponds to you as you agreed.
Cognitivist current: teaching to do things better
According to the cognitive trend, the most appropriate way to help a hyperactive child solve his problems correctly is to train him in the steps he must take, that is, to give him strategies so that he knows how to act .
For example, maintaining attention is an almost automatic skill in most people, but for a hyperactive child it is a triumph. To facilitate this task, we must teach you how to pay attention by providing a series of instructions that summarize what we do when we pay attention (focus on the important, ignore irrelevant stimuli, etc.). In this case we would be talking about attentional strategies.
That said, it seems very abstract, however you can apply it in a particular way to each of the tasks with which your child has difficulties. One way to make it effective is the “self -instructional model ” that you must practice every day for as long as necessary until your child is able to perform the fifth step naturally:
- Modeling : do the homework while saying aloud the steps you follow, using clear and concise instructions.
- External guide states : now it is he who performs the same task while helping you by repeating with him the steps.
- Selfguideguía manifests : the child repeats only the instructions, aloud, while doing the homework.
- Selfguide manifests attenuated : instead of speaking aloud you must whisper instructions.
- Covert self-instruction : the child finally carries out the task in silence while guiding himself through the instructions through thought.