Operant conditioning for ADHD behavior modification (part 2)

Replacing the impulsive behaviors such as difficulties in waiting for one’s turn and interrupting other children could require helping the children with ADHD to talk to themselves as a way to develop self-control. In such a case, exploring both reinforcers (of the desired behavior) and punishment (of the undesired behavior) could better their self-control achievement (CTADD, Inc., n.d). Firstly, one would need to evaluate possible punishments to deter impulsive behavior. Punishment in this case, does not imply physical punishment, since such could distance the child from the trainer (parent or teacher) thus affecting the learning of the desired behavior (Bergan & Caldwell, 1995; Myers, 2010, p. 307). In the event of the disruptive behavior, a teacher or parent could practice time-out. For instance, in case where one interrupts in the other children games, such timeout would involve removing such child from that game, and instructing that he would be allowed to  join in the game when he first request these other children for permission to join and they agree to his joining (Bergan & Caldwell, 1995). In the event that the child never awaited one’s time to perform an action e.g. failing to follow the sequence when handing in assignments, such timeout could involve accepting the child’s assignment only after other children hand in theirs. Through such timeouts, it is expected that the child would associate his impulsive behaviors with delaying his integration into the game (for enjoyment) or keeping him waiting for too long, thus learn to avoid such disruptive behaviors.

Such avoidance would however be promoted by reinforcing a desired behavior, in this case, talking to oneself for self control. In respect to this, positive reinforcement would involve requesting other children to allow the child to participate in the game if he does not interrupt their game. In the scenario of losing patience for one’s turn, the teacher or parent could reward the child by such aspects as appreciation, a pat on the back, and a commendation whenever one’s waits for one’s turn. Accordingly, the child would associate such self control with aspects such as being appreciated (Myers, 2010, p. 304). To make such reinforcements more effective, variable-ratio schedule would be appropriate to avoid the child establishing a link between number of appropriate behaviors and reinforcement, thus try to initiate evasive tactics to learning the alternative behavior (Myers, 2010, p. 305) Go to part 3.

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