Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health problem that significantly impairs a child’s academic performance. The behaviors of children with ADHD can also negatively affect social functioning and relationships with other family members. The most commonly used methods of treatment for children with ADHD are medication and behavioral therapy. Both approaches have proven to be effective in some areas, but neither has successfully addressed all the issues that families and children with ADHD struggle with. In recent years, professional educators and clinicians have devised new strategies that focus on behavior and family involvement. Some of these methods incorporate parent-teacher communication and include child report cards, homework monitoring, and other elements that increase parental involvement and child accountability.
One of these methods is the Family-School Success (FSS) program, a program created to increase the academic performance and family awareness of elementary-age children with ADHD. FSS integrates behavioral therapy, daily accountability through the use of report cards, and homework interventions. To test the effectiveness of FSS, Thomas J. Power of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study of 199 elementary school students with ADHD, one-fourth of whom were taking medication. The students and their families were assigned to 12 weeks of FSS or a control treatment known as Coping with ADHD Through Relationships and Education (CARE).
At the end of the 12 weeks, Power discovered that the families and children in FSS had better outcomes than those in CARE. Specifically, the relationships between the schools and families were stronger for FSS participants, and there were improvements in homework completion and positive parenting. Previous research has shown that parental involvement and school and family relationships are essential to improving the academic performance and social skills of children with ADHD. Power said, “This study affirms the important role that parents can serve in improving variables related to student success in school.”
Power, T. J., Mautone, J. A., Soffer, S. L., Clarke, A. T., Marshall, S. A., Sharman, J., et al. (2012). A family–school intervention for children with ADHD: Results of a randomized clinical trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0028188
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