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A Holistic Approach to ADHD, PART 3

The Wellpath CenterEcological
Use music to calm or focus. Sometimes rock or rap music may paradoxically calm some kids down just as Ritalin, a stimulant, does.

Limit television and video games to one hour per day and eliminate all violent programming; research is clear that this provokes aggressive behavior in kids.

Find the time when the child is most alert. Mornings are usually best for focused work (e.g., seat-work, lectures, etc.); afternoons are best for open-ended activities (e.g., projects, arts, cooperative groups, etc.)

Provide a balanced breakfast. Research suggests that balancing protein with carbohydrates (e.g., eggs and toast) is better for helping foster focused activity than simply a carbohydrate breakfast (e.g., pastries and orange juice).


Emotional
Provide positive role models. Study the lives of great people who had difficulty with behavior in school, including Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale, and Louis Armstrong.

Identify talents, strengths, and abilities. Find out which combination of Howard Gardner’s eight intelligences (linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, naturalist, interpersonal, or intrapersonal) each student has most highly developed and use that information to provide appropriate instruction.

Envision positive futures. Help students see roles and careers for themselves in the world that make use of their special talents and abilities.

Behavioral
Use behavior contracting. Let the student have an important say in writing up a contract that includes the problem behavior(s), and what will happen (rewards, etc.) if the difficulties are removed.

Provide immediate feedback. Videotape a child acting out and show it to him or her right away. Give answers on tests right away. Count the number of times a problem behavior occurs and give the child the figure in a nonjudgmental way each day.

Help them self-monitor to keep track of their own behaviors. Have consistent routines in the classroom and involve the student in them (e.g., select the student to collect papers, signal others to get ready for lunch, etc.)


Social
Hold class meetings. Use these meetings as opportunities to air grievances, work out interpersonal problems between class members, plan for parties, and share other feelings and thoughts about how the class is going.

Use effective communication strategies. For example, practice using “I” language (“I am disturbed by your language”) rather than “you” communication (“You have a filthy mouth”), and help the student practice them as well.

Have the student be a “buddy” to a younger student, so that he needs to become the responsible member of the duo. Ask him to teach another student something he knows how to do; this helps teach organizational skills.