Behavior Training Helps ADHD Kids

Parents Also Benefit From Classes That Teach Coping Skills

From the WebMD Archives

Feb. 13, 2003 -- Teaching kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) proper behavioral and social skills significantly improves their symptoms, according to new research.

ADHD affects approximately 3-5% of children in the U.S., making it one of the most common childhood behavioral disorders. The inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity can be disruptive in both the home and at school.

While medications are the most widely used treatment for ADHD, less is known about the role behavioral therapy can play.

But in this new study, Steve Tutty, from the Center for Health Studies in Seattle, and colleagues found that teaching kids how to cope with ADHD can go a long way towards improving many aspects of their lives. Their study results appear in the February issue of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

A total of 100 children and their families either continued on medication alone or were also enrolled in the behavioral program -- consisting of eight weekly, 50-minute group sessions. The program was designed for both ADHD children and their parents to enhance understanding of ADHD and teach them how to cope with many of the physical and psychological problems associated with it, such as poor self-esteem.

The program taught the following skills:

  • Listening skills
  • How to express feelings
  • Anger management
  • Self-control
  • How to resolve conflicts with others
  • Friendship skills
  • Self-esteem

Parents of children enrolled in the program reported significantly fewer ADHD symptoms in their kids when at home.

On the flip side, however, the new skills did not seem to improve the picture at school. Teachers of ADHD students saw no behavioral differences in those children who attended the classes over those who didn't participate.

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SOURCES: Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, February 2003 • News release, Health Behavior News Service.
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