Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an empirically-based psychotherapy used for the treatment of various childhood mental health disorders. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has attracted increased attention over the last two decades.
Research shows that ADHD is, in fact, a real disorder stemming from malfunctions with a person’s prefrontal lobe of the brain. While medication management is effective in treating certain symptoms of the disorder, the best results are seen with medication management plus cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.
ADHD Diagnosis in Children
ADHD is often diagnosed in childhood, though adults struggle with this disorder just the same. It is first important for the cognitive behavioral therapists to understand and express to the parents of a child with ADHD that it is a medical condition and largely beyond the control of the child. Parents often become frustrated and discouraged with their ADHD child, feeling as though they have tried everything to improve the child’s behavior to no avail.
Parents often place blame on the child for his behavior, and teachers may do the same. When a child internalizes that it is his own fault for having this disorder, self-esteem is negatively impacted. Depression may be one of the consequences and it is common for children with ADHD to feel depressed about the disorder and have a low self-esteem related to it.
A cognitive behavioral therapist would work with the child and parents to help them understand that it is not the child’s fault that he is diagnosed with ADHD. Rather, help the parents and child to understand that there are certain aspects of the disorder that may be controlled with behavior management. Cognitive behavioral therapists must work with parents consistently on adhering to the plan they devise in sessions.
Cognitive Behavior Therapist Specializing in ADHD
A cognitive behavioral therapist working with a child with ADHD will do a thorough intake of the specific symptoms of the disorder. Common symptoms of children diagnosed with ADHD include forgetfulness, poor attention, easy distractibility, failure to prevail on tasks that require sustained mental effort, fidgety behavior, seemingly like one is “driven by a motor,” interrupting, and often does not seem to be listening when someone is speaking to him.
Cognitive behavioral therapists should work closely with the child’s school to help lessen the severity and frequency of the child’s ADHD symptoms. For example, forgetfulness may often result in the child forgetting to bring home his homework, books or school supplies. One technique of cognitive behavioral therapist may use is to call the schoolteacher and arrange for the teacher to check the student’s school bag before he leaves school. When anger management therapy should be considered at the same time, the situation may ask for a different approach, though.
This will ensure that he has the necessary materials he needs to complete the homework assignment. The cognitive behavioral therapist may also encourage parents to check that the child’s homework assignment is completed before returning to school the following day. Cognitive behavioral therapists may work with parents on homework completion issues. It is often the case for children diagnosed with ADHD to struggle with completing homework.
The cognitive behavioral therapist may recommend breaking down homework into smaller chunks of time, setting a timer, and rewarding the child for completing work within those specific blocks of time. Organization skills are highly important for children diagnosed with ADHD.
A cognitive behavioral therapist may have the child bring his school bag into session and teach them how to organize is bad. Teaching the child how to organize his school binder and books is also important. It is often the case for children diagnosed with ADHD to have messy notes. A cognitive behavioral therapist may work with the school to have a copy of the notes given to the child so that he does not go without school notes.