Thursday, October 16, 2014

Testing Parents' Patience, While Treating Kids' Problem Behavior

Humans have a focus on the short term. We are more interested in a potential benefit if we can get it now... Psychologists and economists have shown that similar trends can be observed and measured in many spheres of life. They call the tendency for the perceived value of a delayed benefit to diminish “delay discounting.” Now researchers at Marcus Autism Center are studying delay discounting as it applies to parents’ decision-making, when it comes to engaging in treatment for their children’s problem behavior. Their initial report is published in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Lead author Nathan Call, PhD... says his team’s work is aimed at designing treatment programs that families can stick to, and helping them do so... Effective behavioral treatments for children displaying problem behaviors exist, but immediate success is not guaranteed. On the part of parents, they require commitment, active adherence and work... “Here’s the frustrating moment for me as a clinician,” Call says. “It’s my job to meet with parents, and develop strategies and programs that we think will work. At the start, parents are committed. If you ask them to say how important is it to you to address these problems, on a scale from 1 to 10, they will say ‘11’, but within a couple months, some parents decide, ‘We’re not going to do this.’ “ Call says that in response to signs of delay discounting, clinicians may be able to modify treatment programs to emphasize smaller, but more immediate treatment successes, or assign additional support resources if necessary. more

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