Gabe Gab – How to help produce target behaviors for kids with ADHD

Gabe’s behavioral issues will often get so BIG that you can’t reason with him.  Generally if we keep his inattention in check and do a good job at cueing rather than nagging and yelling at him, we can help control his behavior so it stays in the GREEN.  ADHD kids have trouble using their frontal lobe of their brain or the thinking part.  So you need to help train them.  The feeling part is where emotions are and often where ADHD kids want to stay.  So you can use a thermometer and start getting the kids aware of where their emotions are. 

Emotion Thermometer:

  • GREEN is a healthy emotion, anger, happy, sad, etc but it is done in a way that is healthy for them and people around them.  It’s important they all know that these emotions need to come out and not be pushed down, but just need to come out in a healthy way.
  • YELLOW is an unhealthy emotion. This is when attitude, facial expressions and hurtful words or yelling start coming out.  When they get here you can cue with “Where are you on the thermometer?  Hopefully they say yellow and then you can say, “What do we need to do to get you back into the green?”
  • RED is when physical signs of emotions start.  This could be  hitting, stomping, throwing, thrashing…  The kid often thinks the situation is a catastrophe and will ruin their life.  It is very easy to yell and do a harsh punishment here out of our own frustration, but that is JUST going to promote the idea that their life is ruined.  Get on the kids level, ask where they are at on the thermometer and hopefully they tell you red and ask them is that OK?  Try and calm them down to yellow and talk them down.  If they can get back to down, PRAISE THEM!!!   That is so hard for kids to do especially those with ADHD…  gosh it’s hard for adults to do.  If they are beyond talking to them and they want nothing to do with the thermometer, then take them to a quiet place and hug them and tell them you love them.  Once they have calmed down, then go through this and try to talk to them. 

Once you have established this, you will often find very specific behaviors and situations where you kid goes into yellow and red.  These specific behaviors need to be addressed and a clear expected reaction needs to be set up.  Right now Gabe has 5 target behaviors that he is expected to follow.  These behaviors can start with 1 or go up to 10…  It is all dependant on how much the kid can process.  These behavior and expected results are supposed to get their frontal lobe working so that when the situation happens rather than going right to the ‘feeling’ part, they go to the ‘thinking’ part of the brain and do what is expected.

Target behaviors:

  • It should be a very specific situation.  Example – when you and your sister start to argue…
  • Next there should be what they are NOT to do.  Example – you do NOT yell or hurt her.
  • Finally there should be what they are supposed to do.  Example – , rather come tell and adult what’s going on.

So explain to your kids their emotions are like a thermometer – green, yellow and red zones.  Start asking them where they are at to start promoting them being an expert on themself and self-awareness.  Then start figuring out situations where their emotions get too big.  Have a written list of these situations, what they are not supposed to do and what they are expected to do. 

So next week I’ll share our reward program for when Gabe hits his target behaviors!  (This is Gabe’s favorite part!!!)

 

 

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