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In Treating Adolescents With ADHD, Dr. Robert J. Resnick demonstrates his approach to helping adolescents and their families deal with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a common diagnosis whose symptoms include impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention. Dr. Resnick works with both the parents and the child with ADHD, first to evaluate the environment in which the adolescent lives and then to find ways to make that environment more "ADHD-friendly."
In this session, Dr. Resnick counsels a 13-year-old boy and his mother on options for reducing distractions, advocating for accommodations in school, and working with doctors on medication dosage.
The goal of this therapy is to protect an ADHD child from the consequences of problem ADHD behavior using a problem-solving approach. Treatment is individualized and puts in place alternative strategies to reduce the impact of ADHD symptoms and behaviors.
The therapist, child, and family construct "fail-safe" contingencies to make the environment around an ADHD child more compatible and friendly. This can be done through reducing or eliminating chances of behavioral–emotional errors at school, home, church, and in the neighborhood.
The therapist must discuss the problem behaviors with the parents and child (with possible input from school). Problem behaviors include the following:
not completing class work or homework
walking around the classroom during class
forgetting homework assignments
not turning in homework
running to be first in line
other similar behaviors
In this video, Dr. Resnick designs and implements a contingency plan (or behavioral contract) to reduce and eliminate the problem behavior(s). The intervention may be the responsibility of the child, the parent(s), school, or the environment.
ADHD behaviors and challenges often change with the age of the child (teen). The format, however, for intervention is essentially the same. The steps of the format include the following:
identify the problem behaviors and their consequences
put in place new behavioral strategies to reduce or eliminate unintended consequences
About the Therapist
Robert J. Resnick, PhD, ABPP, is a professor of psychology at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. He received his PhD from the University of Tennessee and specializes in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) through the life span as well as accessibility to health care and health policy.
Dr. Resnick has served as president of the American Psychological Association (APA; 1995–1996), diplomate in clinical psychology, APA fellow, and he is a member of the National Academy of Practice.
He has received the APA Award for Contributions to Professional Practice, the APA Division of Clinical Psychology Award for Contributions to Practice, the Lee Salk Award for Contributions to Pediatric Practice by the APA Division of Pediatric Psychology, and the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal from the U.S. Department of Army.
From 1984 to 1996, Dr. Resnick was founding director of the ADD Clinic at the Virginia Commonwealth University Health Sciences Center. He conducts ADHD workshops and training programs across the United States and around the world.
Kazdin, A. E. (2001). Behavior modification in applied settings (6th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Resnick, R. J. (2000). The hidden disorder: A clinician's guide to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adults. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Resnick, R. J. (in press). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder through the life span. In G. P. Koocher (Ed.), Psychologists' desk reference (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
Root, R. W., & Resnick, R. J. (2002). An update on the diagnosis and treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder children. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 34, 34–41.
D'Zurilla, T. J., & Nezu, A. M. (1999). Problem-solving therapy (2nd ed.). New York: Springer.