Archive for the 'ADHD' Category

ADHD Medication and Behavioral Therapy

by Jacob Hafkin, CCBS Full-Time Therapist

ADHD Medication and Behavioral Therapy - Jacob Hafkin - Cherokee Creek Boys School TherapistRecently, I was asked to review an article that dealt with the subject of ADHD medication and Behavioral Therapy. It was published in Psychiatry Advisor and references the Center for Disease Control’s memo regarding the efficacy of Behavioral Therapy in the treatment of ADHD. OK…I agree with the premises made… but, more importantly, why do I agree? Because learning how to deal with ADHD is about managing symptomatology, rather than curing it.

These days we hear so much about medication and our society’s tendency to over-medicate children, especially young men. I have mixed feelings on the issue, as I have seen for numerous students the positive benefits of medication therapy.

ADHD medication and behavioral therapyThat said, I think too often we expect medications to fix everything. Studies have shown the most effective way to make and sustain change in the mental health field is through a combination of medication and talk therapies.

Medication can aid our students by allowing them a chance to control their behaviors. However, as a part of this regimen, the students also have to choose to control their behaviors.

That’s where the behavior therapy comes in. Our students must still learn strategies for success.

The fact that our boys can now pay attention in class gives us an open door to teach and coach skills such as time management, executive functioning tasks, social skills, goal development, etc.

ADHD medication and Behavioral TherapyMedication aimed towards ADHD symptoms creates an opportunity for our students to hear what we have to say. Then, it is the behavioral coaching that students (and parents) receive that cements these changes and allows for success to become a learned behavior.

Instead of pitting ADHD medication and Behavioral Therapy against each other, we should seek effective ways in which the benefits of both strategies can be utilized to foster the ability for each of our ADHD boarding school students to pay attention and focus in order to maximize their learning experience.

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posted by Morgan Arnold in ADHD and have No Comments

Modeling Authenticity for ADHD Boys

by Jacob Hafkin, Cherokee Creek Boys School TherapistJacob Hafkin - Cherokee Creek Boys School Therapist and ADHD Coach

Part of the Cherokee Creek Mission Statement encourages boys and their families “to discover what is real and true about themselves…”

When a student enters CCBS, he begins as a “Visionary”.  In this quadrant of the CCBS Medicine Wheel, the core value is truth, and they are challenged and taught how to tell the truth without blame or judgement.

For so many of our students struggling with ADHD, truth is mixed up with feelings of failure, disorganization, and despair.  Their past few years have been marred by behavioral infractions, incomplete assignments, fractured friendships and lost time.  Their diagnosis of ADHD has become an excuse, or an explanation for why “they can’t”.  The truth that their learning style may be different from others is covered up by shame and guilt.

CCBS Students in Classroom designed for ADHD boysCherokee Creek Boys School is a place where individual differences such as ADHD are accepted and understood.  It is here that I ask my boys to take a next step, from saying “it’s because I have ADHD” as an excuse, to learning how to modify, adapt and accommodate their learning differences.

Every staff member at CCBS is an ADHD Coach.  The truth is that life can be made more difficult if you have issues with sustaining attention for a task.  But our journey does not end with acknowledgement.  At Cherokee Creek, our staff works to teach young men strategies to find success no matter their learning differences.ADHD Boys can explore the world around them at CCBS

The “Visionary” part of the Medicine Wheel encourages our students to be creative and insightful, traits that are very important as our young men search for ways to fit into their world.   On any given day you might hear a staff member say something along the lines of “Yes, you struggle with hyperactivity and have a hard time making it through class.  Let’s talk about ways to make your academic experience more successful”.

As I mentioned earlier, every staff member at Cherokee Creek as viewed as an ADHD Coach.  I’d like to extend the mantle of Coach to parents, siblings, relatives, and friends in an adolescent’s life.  At this stage, each of our students is learning how to be a man.  Our spoken advice, as well as how we model ourselves non-verbally, is providing a blueprint for adulthood.  Our students/sons are already aware of our humanity.  By sharing our thought processes with them, as well as us giving constructive and palatable feedback, we teach and encourage the behaviors we wish to see repeated.

Every staff member is an ADHD coachLiving and working so closely with my students, they see parts of me I like, as well as my struggles.  They know I’m fallible, and that is OK.  It is through watching each member of our staff deal with failure and success that they learn how to manage the same in their own lives.  I suggest parents to do the same.  If you’re an adult who has struggled with ADHD, share that with your son.  Teach him the strategies that you have used to succeed and encourage his own journey for discovering the truth to becoming a “Warrior” with the courage to overcome and persevere.

We are building resilience in these boys.  If good decisions are a manifestation of experience, and experience comes from poor judgement, we are right on track (it’s that whole “you’ve gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet” bit, right?).  As they continue on their journey towards becoming a more authentic version of themselves, let’s model the same and continue coaching them towards success.

 

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posted by Morgan Arnold in ADHD,Discovering What is Real and True and have Comment (1)