Part II: Laying Out the Treatment Alternatives

Once you know for sure the child has a problem your next step is deciding what to do about it. A number of options are open to you; which one you take depends on what you think the child’s problem stems from. For instance, if you think a child’s hyperactivity is related to his parents’ erratic and disorganized lifestyle, you will be less inclined to think of medication, and more inclined to think of family counseling and behavior modification.

Part II looks at four groups of treatment. The first, Changing What Children Do, is devoted mostly to behavior modification, but also discusses relaxation training. Strategies such as self-instructional training, rational-emotive therapy, problem-solving, values clarification, and transactional analysis aimed at Changing How Children Think, comprise the second group. Thirdly, alternatives Changing Children’s Body Chemistry are discussed. The emphasis here is on stimulant medication; not because I favor it, but because it typically is the treatment of choice for hyperactive children, and its many controversies, including use in the classroom, will be of interest to you. Diet therapy approaches such as megavitamins, Feingold’s diet, coffee, allergy treatment, and reducing sugar intake are also mentioned. Lastly I include a section entitled More Techniques to Help the Problem Child. This is made up of chapters on expressive therapies, games, working with parents, and a grab-bag of ideas which do not fit anywhere else.

Each technique is made up of (a) a description of the principles it is based on; (b) a review of what the available research says about how it works with hyperactive and problem children; (c) trouble-shooting ideas on what could go wrong if you tried it in your classroom; and (d) suggestions on how you can put the theories to work in helping not only hyperactive children, but any special needs children you have in your classroom.