Performance Rewards and Punishments Work Well for Kids with ADHD

Rewards and Punishments Work for ADHD
Performance rewards and punishments, if they are significant enough, work as well for kids with ADHD as they do for kids without ADHD. These are the findings of a study just published in the Journal of Behavioral Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry.

You might say to yourself, "Well duh", but it has been speculated by Psychologist such as Russell Barkleym PhD that kids and adults with ADHD have a totally skewed rewards and punishment system and that rewards and punishment do not work when trying to change behaviors in people with ADHD.

These same Psychologist say that this skewed ADHD reward system is made worse by the fact that adults and kids with ADHD also have a co-existing problem with time and with waiting for rewards and with delayed gratification so that they will not wait and persevere to get a bigger reward.

This new study reports that these Psychologist may be correct with regards to people with ADHD not working for or waiting for a meaningless rewards or punishments but it also reports that big rewards and punishments work just as well in people with ADHD and Inattentive ADHD.

The study shows that kids will delay their rewards to get a bigger reward and that they will perform to avoid punishment. I have found this to be true at our house and I have mentioned that my kids are on an incentive system and that my Hyperactive/Impulsive son can make or lose a signigicant amount of money weekly based on his performance at home and at school.

Performance reward incentives can work to change behavior in ADHD but the rewards and punishments have to be significant and meaningful to the person with ADHD.

J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2011 May 27;42(4):488-496. [Epub ahead of print]
Contextual influence of highly valued rewards and penalties on delay decisions in children with ADHD.
Marx I, Pieper J, Berger C, Häßler F, Herpertz SC.

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