Friday, May 6, 2011
ADD - Alternative Treatments
In this article we're going to discuss some alternative treatments for someone suffering from ADD. Unfortunately some people suffering from ADD cannot handle taking medication, either for psychological or physical reasons. For these people their only recourse is taking an alternative path. There are many alternative treatments for ADD. We'll be going over the most common. One way to treat a person who has ADD is through what is called behavioral modification or intervention. This is a direct negative or positive reinforcement of the behavioral changes we want to have take hold in the child. For example, a child in class who never raises his hand before asking a question might be given a small reward by the teacher for restraining himself enough to raise his hand before asking the question. This is reinforced over and over until it becomes second nature to the child. In other words, the child learns to raise his hand in class before asking a question. Even if the child still blurts out the question after raising his hand he is still rewarded for raising his hand to begin with. It's a small step but an important one. The theory behind this is that rewarding the struggle towards changing the child's behavior encourages the new full behavior. Another alternative treatment for ADD is the use of neurofeedback. This is where electrodes are attached to the scalp so the patient can actually see the brainwaves working. By doing this he can see the effect on his brain of staying calm in a given situation. This way he can learn to slow down or speed up brain waves. Another thing that can be done is to hook up an interactive metronome to the patient. This metronome will assist the person suffering from ADD in focusing his attention through sound and movement patterns. This is supposed to also have a calming effect on the patient. Then there is EFT, or Emotional Freedom Technique. This involves stimulating specific acupressure points while speaking certain words that reinforce behavior. This seems to trigger changes in the neurological system. Another form of therapy is what they call "Animal Assisted Therapy" or AAT. This is the practice of getting a pet for the child to pet and even to take care of. This teaches the child responsibility and keeps his mind occupied. Many children who care for pets become more self regulated and calmer. A very effective form of treatment is the small specialized classroom. These classrooms fill in gaps in learning that the child may have missed in his regular classroom, because of frequent outbursts. These classrooms incorporate learning with periods of vigorous physical activity, opportunities for success, and attention and reward for every accomplishment. These classrooms also provide naps for proper sleep and good food for proper nutrition. In the final article in this series we are going to discuss how parents can cope with a child suffering from ADD and what support groups they have available to them.