Decreasing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms utilizing an automated classroom reinforcement device

Joseph H. Evans, Louise Ferre, Laurie A. Ford, Judith L. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Psychologists and physicians are frequently approached by parents and, indirectly, by classroom teachers to diagnose and treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Requests are also frequently made for psychostimulant medication to control ADHD behavioral symptoms. One reason for such requests is that alternative classroom approaches to treating ADHD have focused on positive reinforcement, response cost, and token reinforcement programs, all of which can require extensive teacher involvement. One of the major problems with such behavioral approaches is the fact that teachers have limited time to reinforce positive, attentive behaviors, and/or alternative behaviors to ADHD symptoms. This study examined the efficacy of an automated reinforcement device, the Attention Training System (ATS), in decreasing off‐task behavior in an 11‐year‐old, fifth‐grade student who had been diagnosed as being affected with ADHD and had been placed in Special Education Resource Room programming. The Attention Training System provides automated token reinforcement in the form of points on a fixed interval schedule when the youngster is on‐task. When distractible, impulsive, or hyperactive behavior occurs, the Attention Training device can be activated by a teacher to provide a response‐cost consequence of loss of points. The device in this study was coupled with a token reinforcement program whereby points could be exchanged for selected reinforcers at the end of each day. Results indicated that the ATS plus token reinforcement was successful in reducing off‐task behavior across classes of three subject areas: Science, Reading, and Social Studies. Results have implications for psychologists and physicians in their attempts to assist families and schools in their management of youngsters with ADHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-219
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology in the Schools
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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