A recent study found that beginning with behavioral training by parents and teachers may decrease hyperactivity more than starting drug-based treatments first in children diagnosed with A.D.H.D.
According to Benedict Carrey of The New York Times, "children with attention-deficit problems improve faster when the first treatment they receive is behavioral," which " is also a less expensive option over time" — by about $700 per year — than relying solely on medications such as Ritalin. Behavioral treatments rely heavily on attention from parents and teachers, whose reactions to children's behavior encourage them to focus and avoid disruption. Adults "reward the good or cooperative acts they see" and "withhold privileges...for misbehavior," writes Carrey.
However, "the irony is that that option is seldom available to parents," says Mark Stein, a professor at the University of Washington. Behavioral therapy requires both time and energy without fail from the people interacting with a learning child. The benefits of increased attentiveness and lowered cost demand consistent responses to behavior, whether positive or negative.