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  • Need some Info on Russell Barkley

    Hi all!

    First let me begin by saying it is such a blessing to have this forum available! I am so grateful for the info I find here. Often when I am at the end of my rope I see a post and realize once agin I am not alone!

    It has been some time since I last posted, so I'll just give a little info on my situation. My son is 11 and was diagnosed with Tourette's, ADHD and OCD in 2004. Currently he is taking 25mg of Strattera twice a day as well as 25mg of Seroquel twice a day.

    Over the last several months we have noticed a definite accelleration in his anger and aggression. On more than one occasion he has been physically aggressive towards his father, but not towards me for what ever reason.

    I have been in contact with our local Mental Health Unit and it has been suggested to us that we begin a program designed by Dr Russell Barkley (an authority on ADHD) using a Home Token System. Basically this involves using a system which is supposed to use actual tokens which will be given to my son as he uses the appropriate behaviour (ie politeness, not being aggressive, doing his chores etc) and the tokens can also be taken away from him or "cost" him if he uses behaviours which are innappropriate (ie rudeness, aggression, talking back etc) He can also "spend" the tokens he has "earned" for privileges such as video games time, movies etc.
    The idea is that he will begin to accept responsibility for his actions as well as be rewarded for "appropriate" behaviour. It has been explained to us that my son will most certainly hate this new approach and will fight us tooth and nail during the first few weeks! an understatement I am sure!
    Now if you all are still with me asfter all that...;)
    My questions are 1) Has anyone heard of this gentleman and have any experience with his programs? 2) Does this sound like an appropriate program for a child with Tourette's?
    I have some concerns as to whether it will be helpful to my son and I don't want to cause him any more discomfort. It seems that we are always "trying" somethig else, be it a new med or a new approach!!
    Just last month we had an appointment with A Pediatric Psychiatrist, and although I had explained beforehand to my son that this appointment had been set up for the doc to review his medication he dropped a bombshell on me in the waiting room! He told me that the only reason I had brought him to this appointment was because I thought that there was something wrong with him and that people were always treating him differently! It was all I could do not to just sit there and cry, my heart was breaking for him! I explained again the reason for the visit, but he just said he didn't believe me.
    Any way, I am sorry for such a looooooong winded post.

    Thanks for listening and I appreciate any help you might be able to offer.
    MJ

  • #2
    Re: Need some Info on Russell Barkley

    Welcome back Matts mom!

    I have never heard of the gentleman you mention but I have heard of that system or something simliar.

    My son is 13 and has TS Plus. At home we have used a chart for many years where my son earns checkmarks for doing appropriate things and gets a reward when it is full. I don't take checks away though. I do however remind him when he could have earned a check mark and how I know he will next time.

    My son now attends junior high within a mental health classroom and they have a similiar system. They earn play money and are allowed to purchase things from the classroom store once a week. They do not have money taken away for innapropriate behaviour but they will lose their tun to purchase something from the store if their behaviour warrants it.

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    • #3
      Re: Need some Info on Russell Barkley

      Hi MJ and welcome

      I am not familiar with this gentleman but I support recognition and reward programs for kids with TS and ADHD. But as Patti said, it can not be used as a punishment ie take back the tokens. We use ballots for good behavior and the ballots go into a draw on Fridays. one of my boys is supposed to win a prize, but I tend to arrange more than one draw so they each get something. It's amazing what how motivated they get for a ballot. it has helped to get them out the door in the mornings for school.

      Children with TS and ADHD need the extrinsic motivation. As they mature and internalize their symptoms and become more self-aware this can change but until then the reward systems has great success. Ensure you have everyone in the household on board to ensure consistency.
      Janet

      TSFC Homepage

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      • #4
        Re: Need some Info on Russell Barkley

        Patti and Janet,
        Thanks to both of you for your replies!
        I too had concerns about whether or not there would be any perception of this program being interpreted as a form of punishment.
        I should clarify a couple of things however; We have been instructed to use a bulletin board divided into three categories:

        1) Goal Tokens which can are obtained when he completes something such as getting ready for school (always a struggle) politeness etc. Each goal is awarded a value, ie 5 tokens each for brushing teeth, washing face and so on.

        2) Be Careful Tokens will "cost" him in that he will accumulate these when using less desirable behaviours; ie aggression, rudeness etc. These tokens are also awarded a point value. If he accumulates 30 Goal Tokens and 20 Be Careful Tokens he will still have 10 Goal Tokens in his "bank".

        3) Reward Tokens are those that he can "cash in" with his Goal Tokens. Rewards may include Playstation Time, a trip to the Movies etc.

        We decided to go ahead with this and are entering our second day. The councellor from Mental Health came to our home and went over everything with all of us, and you are absolutely right Janet, everyone has to be onboard and consistent! Matthew was not happy with this new arrangement and the first night was awful! Matt was beligerent and even knocked a hole into the bulletin board the first night! I work nights and so the burden has been on my hubby the last night and day, but I did notice that this morning Matt has "earned" himself some Goal Tokens and used a couple of those to watch TV and play a game, something that he just took for granted before.
        I am sure this will not be easy for any of us, but I have decided to give it a try. I have even had a call from our school guidance councellor asking for info on it.
        We have set up weekly visits for all of us to speak with the MH worker. She encouraged Matt to call her if he feels a need to talk as well any time.
        So, that seems to be where we are at right now!
        I will keep you posted as we go along!
        Thanks!
        MJ

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        • #5
          Re: Need some Info on Russell Barkley

          Hi MJ!!

          I am new to this TS thing. My 7 year old son was diagnosed last month with TS+. We just began to see a MH worker and he suggested to watch the 1-2-3 Magic video. In that video they talk about a token system also. I think that would be great for the older child. I also read about that in a couple of the TS books I read. I also have not heard about Russell Barkley, have you tried your local public library. A lot of libraries can bring in books from other libraries through inter-library loan. That's how I got my book on TS.

          I look forward to hearing how the token system is working for you.
          CRYSTAL

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          • #6
            Re: Need some Info on Russell Barkley

            Rewards and consequences might work for others but for my TS+ 5 year old it does not work at all. The only approach which works for us is The Explosive Child (Ross Greene). We feel that he learns a lot from the Collaborative Problem Solving which we are teaching him, and we have learned so much too!

            Good luck!!

            Andrea

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            • #7
              Re: Need some Info on Russell Barkley

              Cool!!!! I have never heard of that EXPLOSIVE CHILD by Ross Greene. I will look into that. Funny how every kid is different and not everything works for every kid. I am so glad I joined this forum, I am getting so many different ideas. Thanks so much!!!
              CRYSTAL

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              • #8
                Re: Need some Info on Russell Barkley

                Thanks Andrea and Crystal for your input!
                I agree that each child is different and responds differently to a particular style.
                The CPS model is very highly regarded and I have been looking into it myself. My son is not only responding to "consequences for actions" with this token system. I am attempting to encourage him to communicate his needs and frustrations as well as look for solutions to some of the situations he finds himself in.
                He feels quite proud of himself for having "earned" goal tokens and although he still doesn't much like the restrictions imposed upon the activities he has been taking for granted, I notice him trying to respond more appropriately even though it is difficult for him. I have also noticed that he will look at what a particular activity will "cost" ie game time or TV time and he will decide himself whether to use his tokens or not. Yesterday, he chose to take the dog for a walk rather than use up his tokens. The physical activity was great, and I found him in a better frame of mind upon his return!
                We are just in the beginning stages of this and make no mistake there are challenges no matter what approach you make take.
                I guess the bottom line is as you both pointed out, each child is unique and as a parent of a child with these challenges it is not always easy to find the right approach that your child will respond well to.
                That is why I appreciate this group so much! There is so much info avail to make navigating this path a little easier, and our child's future a lot brighter!
                Cheers!
                MJ

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                • #9
                  Re: Need some Info on Russell Barkley

                  We tried the 1-2-3 Magic with our oldest when he was only 6 because he was interrupting in kindergarden... pre-diagnosis...and believe it or not the "count down" process still works in my house. It works for some and it doesn't work for others.
                  Janet

                  TSFC Homepage

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                  • #10
                    Re: Need some Info on Russell Barkley

                    The Explosive Child (Ross Greene) is a great book and if you ever get the opportunity to hear Ross Greene in person you need to do so. Teaching Collaborative Problem Solving is so beneficial as they get older. I have found that this teachers us as parents and the kids to communicate better because we are restating what they are asking for. Many children explode due to not having the language skills to express how they are feeling.

                    I have found that my kids say one thing but they are often mean something else. When you use a collaborative approach you spend more time talking and listening and as the kids get older you can gather more insight into what they are trying to share and there is less frustration.
                    Janet

                    TSFC Homepage

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                    • #11
                      Re: Need some Info on Russell Barkley

                      They also have a video for the Explosive Child series. I believe it's called Parenting the Explosive Child. It describes the system. I found this great because I learn better from visual input myself. The video is a little dry, but if you can make it through the 2 hours, you're off and running.

                      Just my 2 cents, but I agree with not taking away tokens with TS. I think it could just add to the frustration. Part of the problem is that although TS is semi-voluntary, it's not always as easy to stop a behavior or prevent it forever. I think the rage attacks can fall under semi-voluntary behaviors because very strong feelings have to go somewhere. Think of it this way, if you won a million dollars would you be able to prevent yourself from smiling? Although in theory you could do it if you really, really wanted to, the chances are you wouldn't be able to stop yourself. Or if you stubbed your toe, try not to grimmace or make a sound. Again, in theory it's possible, but you would have an extremely hard time doing it. That's how I look at TS.

                      If a child is tired or stressed, their behavior may be less in their control than on a good day. If they then have tokens taken away, that could lead to further frustration, and possibly more issues. I think it's always best to try to reward the positive. I do like the idea of them maybe having to wait to use their tokens though if the behavior is severe enough. That way they really aren't losing tokens, but there is a consequence for a serious behavior.

                      Hope that helps.

                      Colleen

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