POOR IMPULSE CONTROL : INTERVENTION APPROACHES

The first step in aiding the impulse-ridden child is to rule out the
presence of organic dysfunction. If the impulsive behavior is extreme and
the normal efforts to help the child establish better control have failed,
then a thorough physical examination is indicated to determine the
necessity for medical intervention. The following steps may also be helpful
in helping an impulsive child:

1. Severely suppressing the impulsive responses of the individual.
If the child shows signs of depression (tears, anxiety, symptoms of
sadness, etc.) after this kind of treatment, the prognosis is better since
it is assumed the child is able to turn the aggression inward and can 
learn to control him or herself better. Eventually, the child may interject
these limits into his or her life. The aim is to make the child more
compulsive.

Within the school setting the impulsive child may be helped by:

1. Furnishing the student with an isolation booth, but do not 
make this appear to be a punishment for misbehavior. It can be 
called a private office or some similar title to allow the 
child to be separated from other students, distractions, etc., 
without embarrassment. 

2. Provide the pupil with small units of work and give frequent 
short drill periods. 

3. Release muscular tension with light activity.

4. Give much positive reinforcement for any small success in self 
control. 

5. Use proximity control. A touch on the shoulder, a tap on the 
desk, or softly speaking the child's name is generally more 
effective than discourses that many children have learned to 
ignore. 

6. Limit environmental distractions.

7. Allow the student some time to concentrate on things he or she 
likes to do. 

8. Set firm limits.

9. Present purposeful and structured activities such as copying 
patterns on a peg board, writing in clay with a stylus, etc. 

10. Discourage wild guesses.

Behavior modification appears to be the best for this type of child. 
Rewards should be set up systematically for signs of self-control.
Behaviors that the adult wishes to change should be classified and made 
clear to the child. Charts can be set up to monitor improvement.
The above techniques are more useable with younger children. Poor 
impulse control in older children is a serious sign especially when allied
with a high score in aggressive categories.