Family-School Intervention Effective in Reducing ADHD Impairments in Elementary Students, Children’s Hospital Study Finds
PHILADELPHIA, May 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have developed a 12-week intervention program for schools and families shown in a study to reduce impairments related to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in elementary school children with the diagnosis.
ADHD affects about eight percent of children and often leads to poor school performance, tension within the family and discipline problems at school. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a family-school intervention using daily report cards, behavioral consultation, and homework interventions designed to improve the home and educational functioning of the student. The study, “A Family-School Intervention for Children With ADHD: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial,” was published this month in The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
“This is the first study to demonstrate a behavioral intervention for students with ADHD can improve the parent-teacher relationship,” said lead author Thomas J. Power, Ph.D., a psychologist and the director of the Center for Management of ADHD at Children’s Hospital. “The study highlights the importance of coordinating the efforts of both the family and the school. These results are noteworthy in that they were achieved using a brief three-month intervention.”
The study included 199 families with children in grades two through six participating in weekly sessions through the ADHD Center at Children’s Hospital. Families participated in six group sessions, four family sessions and two school-based consultations. The “Family-School Success (FSS)” program is designed to improve parenting skills and involvement in the child’s education through better, more frequent and more involved communication with teachers. The study compared FSS to a matched group receiving a less specific treatment.
The study results showed the Family-School Success program — a relatively brief behavioral intervention — helped parents become more involved in education and collaboration with the teachers. The program also showed greater improvement in child homework performance and parenting behavior as compared to the control group. About 40 percent of the study participants were taking ADHD medication, but the study showed that the effect of the Family-School Success program was the same whether the child was taking medication or not.
As a follow up, the study authors recommend offering the treatment in school, rather than in a medical office space as was used during the study, to improve the student’s access to care and add the option to include more intensive classroom intervention. The researchers also recommend more investigation into the longer-term effects of the intervention as well as additional booster sessions.
“The FSS program seems to work because it focuses on improving parenting practices, family involvement in education, and the quality of the parent-teacher relationship,” Power said. “Currently, when a child struggles in school, the focus is usually on making changes within the school. This makes sense, but this study demonstrates that families serve a critical role in promoting school success for children with ADHD.”
Other study authors are Jennifer A. Mautone; Stephen L. Soffer; Stephen A. Marshall; Jaclyn Sharman; Nathan J. Blum; Marianne Glanzman; Josephine Elia; Abbas F. Jawad., all of Children’s Hospital and Angela T. Clarke of West Chester University.
To view the full report, click here: http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2012-09581-001/
About The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation’s first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children’s Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking second in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 516-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.
Contact: Juliann Walsh, Public Relations
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Office Phone: 267-426-6054
SOURCE The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia