Alternative Solutions for Managing Behavioral Disorders
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders in children. Given this fact, it is no surprise that parents and physicians are seeking solutions to effectively manage behavioral problems, often in the form of medication such as Ritalin® or Methylin®. But as many teachers and clinicians will attest, medication is not the only alternative, nor should it be the first consideration. After all, medication does not change a person; it only modifies the person’s behavior. This is why many children who take medication for behavioral problems must continue to do so for years.
If medication does not always serve as a permanent solution, then it seems reasonable that other alternatives could work just as well. This article will examine those alternatives, as well as highlight the beneficial role teachers have in helping parents determine the type of treatment that is appropriate.
Because teachers interact with children on a consistent basis and can objectively assess children in the same age group, they are excellent candidates for helping to manage children’s behavior. However, it is an enormous responsibility just to implement curriculum goals and manage a classroom. Should teachers be expected to participate in the management of children with behavioral problems as well?
Some teachers simply will not have the ability to focus on one or two children exclusively. But it is in their best interest and the best interest of the entire group of children for them to try to become involved. According to Daniel Adam Johnson, an educator and administrator for nine years, “Although the time to meet with parents may be difficult to come by, such a proactive investment may prove beneficial in the end to everyone involved.”
By addressing behavioral problems directly, teachers might be able to head off future disruptions, thereby promoting a harmonious classroom environment and increasing overall learning capacity. The following steps outline an approach for teachers that involves parents and health professionals in the assessment of behavioral problems:
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