Behavioral modification for children often involves the use of charts and stickers and is normally based on a system of rewards and consequences, emphasizing positive behaviors. Although this works well for children, adults with ADD need more than a “gold star” for the day as motivation.
As with all individuals with ADD/ADHD, any treatment plan should be customized to target specific behaviors. ADD/ADHD shows up differently in everyone, where one person may have a problem with losing items or forgetfulness another may have difficulty with disorganization or procrastination. An effective treatment plan is one that takes into consideration the symptoms that are causing the most disruption to one’s daily life.
Adults with ADD/ADHD many times will try to incorporate changes by themselves. For example, they may spend time learning new organizational skills or using items such as calendars, day planners or alarms on their cell phone to help them remember appointments. Other adults may use outside assistance, such as, therapists, counselors or ADD coaches in developing behavioral management techniques.
Some examples of how professionals help adults with ADD/ADHD include:
- Using tools such as PDAs, schedulers, reminder systems, “to-do” lists
- Organizing your home to include specific areas for keys, wallet, etc.
- Creating systems to keep paperwork and clutter under control
- Career counselors can help to locate a career to fit your personality
- Assistance in creating a positive self-image
- Interviewing and resume skills
- Developing interpersonal skills
- Coaching through the job searching process or coaching to find ways to be more productive and efficient at your current job
- Implementing strategies to reduce jumping into activities without thinking
- Planning what to say when someone asks you to do something
- Role-playing scenarios where impulsiveness is high
- Finding activities that will help release excess energy
- Creating strategies for times when sitting still is a necessity
- Help with social skills
- Parenting strategies
This list provides examples of how ADD professionals can help adults to live fuller and more satisfying lives. Your personal situation should be taken into consideration and whatever type of professional you choose to work with; you should be able to accentuate your strong points and work to improve your weaknesses.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.