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Medication for Bad Behavior?

LD and ADD/ADHD Expert Advice from Eileen S. Marzola, Ed.D.

Q: My seven-year-old daughter, who can be sweet as pie, doesn't listen to the teacher, argues, and just disobeys everything. She also feels that nobody likes her and that she's dumb. I think she's very smart. She tells me that she tries not to be bad, but it just happens. She feels that everyone is always yelling at her, even if you talk in a regular voice. This is usually when she got in trouble in school and I'm talking to her about it. A doctor put her on Concerta and it worked for a day or two, but by Friday she was back in full terror mode. Any suggestions?

A: Medication alone is often not the cure-all for kids who are having the kinds of difficulties your daughter is exhibiting. It sounds like she needs a good behavior-modification plan to address some of her challenging behaviors. Two good resources for help are Harvey C. Parker's Problem Solver Guide for Students with ADHD and the website for Dr. Mac's Amazing Behavior Management at www.BehaviorAdvisor.com . Both of these resources will walk you through the steps to targeting appropriate behaviors and then setting up a system of reinforcements that should help your daughter to improve the way she acts both at home and in school.

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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.


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