When you need to choose between Behavior Therapy for Autism or ADHD Vs Medication as the right intervention strategy for your child, which one would you go for? The answer, at least as per new research tends to suggest that behavior therapy should always go first! Children who are initiated to ADHD treatment along with behavior therapy as the primary intervention technique, requires lower doses of medication for greater symptom control. The results come out much better than starting off with medication alone.
Behavior Therapy for Autism and ADHD – An old favourite
It’s what many physicians and parents think. An effective, alternative treatment option for ADHD; used together with medication, it helps kids learn various skills (organizing skills, time management etc.) that can’t be taught with prescriptions. According to new researches, behavior therapy gives best results when introduced before medication.
All children treated first with behavior therapy and given medication (only on requirement) improved faster than those who started off with stimulants. This also comes to be $700 cheaper annually on treatment in U.S, on an average; not to mention the adverse side effects of medication.
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How this study was conducted
Published by the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology and as two different papers, data were collected from 146 ADHD affected children, aged between 5 to 12 tears. Half of the group (A) received generic Ritalin, while the other half (B) was on behavior-modification techniques that rewarded good behavior with praise, withholding privileges and enforcing time-outs for misbehavior. The therapy session ignored harmless attention seeking behaviors.
Parents and teachers both rated the children’s behavior and any improvement was given a small treat (reward). Children who did not show any improvement in two months (66% of the kids who began with behavioral therapy and 45% of those who started on medication) were randomly assigned additional therapies. This included an intensified form of the same treatment they received or a new, supplemental treatment with medications.
Group B broke lesser number of rules per hour on an average than Group A, who also required stimulant medication in low supplemental doses, but far less if compared to traditional prescription therapy. It reduces the cost.
Is there a ray of hope?
The results are likely to prompt larger studies and examine the impact of changing the order of treatment delivery. That way, it will further help us evaluate if implementing behavioral techniques is going to fit the emotional and time/costs constraints for the parents.