Monday, May 21, 2007

ADHD Part 2

Hmmm… I said I would get back to you (my own ADD / ADHD is currently under control and I actually recalled that I would finish my discussion on ADD / ADHD interventions)… so here it is…

…while not a “magical” treatment or even a “new” healing program (this will not make Oprah or the Early Morning Shows), research also clearly indicates hat behavioral interventions are of significant benefit among children with features of disinhibiiton including ADD / ADHD symptoms. In addition to the previously identified environmental and parental interventions, research suggests that introduction of cognitvive behavior therapy (CBT) interventions have promise particularly among children over the age of about ten years. Great thing about CBT … you don’t need to drop $120,000 on an education to learn or use it!

CBT is a step-wise intervention strategy that includes:

(a) increasing self-observer functions by labeling emotions (ie., “it looks like you are feeling…”) (to assist in articulation of negative emotions)

(b) providing cues/assistance in identification of antecedents or triggers for negative emotions (ie., “when did you begin to feel that way? where were you?, etc.) (to assist in identification of trigger zones or antecedents)

(c) learning to identify that behaviors are choices (ie., “what did you choose to do with those negative emotions?”) (to enhance higher level executive contributions to behavior)

(d) assistance in identification of outcomes (ie., “how did that work out for you?”) (to facilitate self-observation and utilization of feedback)

(e) assistance in recognition of the extent to which outcomes influenced triggers (“did those outcomes change the triggers?”) (to avoid vicious cycles in which behaviors have no impact on the triggers).

Existing research indicates that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – type interventions are among “what works” among high risk children and adolescents involved in juvenile probation. Parental instruction in the use of these techniques is critical to success because the therapists are the parents. So, finally, you get to do something! In addition to formal programming or therapeutic strategies, avoidance of emotional trigger words including “should”, “why”, “have to” and “try” often proves beneficial. These four words (or phrases) are often viewed as parental words that tend to elicit child responses including oppositionality, aggression, withdrawal, etc. See the old stand-by book
I’m OK, You’re OK (Thomas Harris) for an explanation (read chapters 1-7). In lieu of these four curse words, insert choices (ie., what might you choose to do?) and questions (ie., what happened? when did it happen? what could you do?, etc.).

So… tired of waiting for the doctors to make things better? Want to get some control over your life and participate in the development and maturation of your child? Please do not “try” these interventions… but you could choose to implement them.


Dr. Richard Dowell is a Neuropsychologist located in Pennsylvania. Dr. Dowell evaluates upwards of 400 children and adolescents each year. In addition, Dr. Dowell is recognized as one of the top Forensic Neuropsychological witnesses in the North East.

Dr. Dowell can be contacted at

For more information on Neuropsychology visit

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