Program for parents improves ADHD behaviors in young children

October 3, 2017, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
Parents not only reported sustained improvements for their children's ADHD behaviors, but also for their social skills and interactions with peers. Credit: UNC's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.

A program that focuses on strengthening parenting skills also improves symptoms of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in 3-8 year-olds, according to researchers at the at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. FPG scientists completed a rigorous review of evidence that demonstrated the effectiveness of the "Incredible Years Basic Parent Program."

"Prior research already has shown that this program improves behavior difficulties in young ," said Desiree W. Murray, FPG's associate director of research. "This review provides new evidence specifically about its effectiveness for ADHD symptoms."

Murray explained that not only reported sustained improvements for their children's ADHD behaviors, but also for their social skills and interactions with peers.

She said effective early intervention is crucial for young children with ADHD, due to the unfavorable short-term and long-term outcomes associated with the disorder.

"ADHD in preschoolers can bring conflict with family members, and it carries elevated risk of physical injuries and suspension or expulsion from child care settings," Murray said. "Negative trajectories over time can include the development of other psychiatric disorders and difficulties with social adjustment."

Previous studies have also shown that children with ADHD struggle academically, with lower test scores and higher risk of dropping out of high school.

"We can help to prevent the wide array of negative outcomes that are associated with ADHD," Murray said. "We believe the most effective intervention approaches may be those that target preschoolers with symptoms of ADHD but who have not yet met the full criteria for diagnosis with ADHD."

Murray and her team, which included FPG research scientist Doré R. LaForett and UNC doctoral student Jacqueline R. Lawrence, screened 258 studies and narrowed their list to 11 studies that met stringent criteria for rigor and methodology. The evidence—primarily parent reports—showed the effectiveness of the Incredible Years Basic Parent Program for ADHD behaviors in young children. The Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders recently published the results of the team's review.

The Incredible Years Basic Parent Program is designed for parents of high-risk children and those who display behavioral problems. It focuses on helping parents strengthen relationships with their children, providing praise and incentives, setting limits, establishing ground rules, and effectively addressing misbehavior.

Murray, a trained mentor for the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management program, explained that a key caregiver strategy that all IY programs teach—and which is particularly relevant for ADHD-related difficulties—is "coaching" to develop persistence, as well as academic, social, and emotional skills. As parents and others prompt, describe, and praise targeted behaviors, children learn to regulate their own emotions and behavior, and they become motivated to use these skills.

"We think an effective 12-14 session program is a modest investment for preschool children who are at risk for ADHD," she said. "The research shows it may promote long-term benefits that can move these children towards a more positive developmental path."

Explore further: New behavioral therapy to support Japanese mothers of children with ADHD

More information: Murray, D. W., Lawrence, J. R., & LaForett, D. R. (2017). The Incredible Years® programs for ADHD in young children: A critical review of the evidence. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. Advance online publication. DOI: 10.1177/1063426617717740
fpg.unc.edu/resources/incredib … ical-review-evidence

Related Stories

New behavioral therapy to support Japanese mothers of children with ADHD

February 21, 2017
OIST researchers have successfully adapted a parent-training program for ADHD for use with families in Japan, where ADHD-specific behavioral interventions are limited.

Parent training on ADHD using volunteers can help meet growing treatment needs

May 24, 2017
Using volunteers to train parents concerned about attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in their children can improve capacity to meet increasing ADHD treatment needs, finds a new study by NYU's Steinhardt School ...

Study finds children with ADHD have questions for their doctor but don't ask them

April 20, 2017
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder want to ask their physicians about their condition and medications but often don't, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The ...

Licensing, motor vehicle crash risk among teens with ADHD

June 12, 2017
Adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are licensed to drive less often and, when this group is licensed, they have a greater risk of crashing, according to a new study published by JAMA Pediatrics.

New program empowers teens to make choices about ADHD meds

June 18, 2015
FIU's Center for Children and Families (CCF) is offering a new program to help teens with ADHD make healthy, informed decisions about treatment.

Summer Treatment Program helps children with ADHD benefit from sports, research shows

March 28, 2014
A summer program at FIU is proving that children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can excel in team sports and benefit from the experience.

Recommended for you

After-school programs a blessing for kids with ADHD

May 8, 2018
(HealthDay)—After-school activities might be just what the doctor ordered for kids with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), researchers suggest.

Computerized test may help improve ADHD diagnoses

May 4, 2018
The prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses in children and young people has increased, but diagnostic practice among clinicians remains variable, with significant diagnostic delays and reliance ...

Kids with severe brain injuries may develop ADHD: study

March 19, 2018
(HealthDay)—Young children who sustain a severe head injury may struggle with attention problems as they grow older, researchers say.

For children with ADHD, a brief, school-based program can help dramatically with homework problems, study finds

December 6, 2017
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder who took part in a brief, school-based program displayed significant improvements in their homework, organization and planning skills, according to a new study led by ...

What can twitter reveal about people with ADHD?

November 9, 2017
What can Twitter reveal about people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD? Quite a bit about what life is like for someone with the condition, according to findings published by University of Pennsylvania ...

Brain imaging reveals ADHD as a collection of different disorders

November 8, 2017
Researchers have found that patients with different types of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have impairments in unique brain systems, indicating that there may not be a one-size-fits-all explanation for the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.