Program

Dec 20, 2007

OVERVIEW

This social skills training program was developed for elementary and early middle school aged children who have ADHD.  The program is a short (8-10 week) intervention in which children meet weekly in group sessions with trained therapists.  In an experimental evaluation of the program, 120 children were randomly assigned to either a treatment or wait-list control group.  The evaluation found that the program had few impacts on children’s behavioral problems.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Children ages 8-12 years old who have been diagnosed with ADHD

The social skills training program is a short-term curriculum for children with ADHD.  The program seeks to help children acquire positive social skills in the following areas: cooperation with peers, problem solving, anger management, assertiveness, conversations, and accepting consequences.  The program consists of weekly, 90-minute sessions which last for between 8 and 10 weeks.  At these sessions, children meet in groups with trained therapists.  Each session starts with a review of the previous lesson’s material; then children receive the current week’s lesson, engage in a group challenge game to reproduce the skill discussed, watch modeling behavior by the therapists, role-play using the skill, and lastly, have 15 minutes of free time where children can practice their new social skills with each other.  In addition to the child component, parents also attend three group sessions in which they are introduced to the program and are shown how to monitor their child’s homework completion and progress over the course of the intervention.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Antshel, K. M. & Remer, R. (2003).  Social skills training in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A randomized-controlled clinical trial.  Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 32(1), 153-165.

Evaluated population: 120 children 8-12 years old who had been diagnosed with ADHD.  The average age of children was about 9½ years.  All participants were taking prescribed stimulants and were permitted to continue medication throughout the program.

Approach: To be eligible for the study, children had to be referred by a psychologist for ADHD and the child had to meet the criteria for ADHD as defined by the American Psychological Association (APA).  Additionally, parents had to rate the child high on behavioral problems on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and on the Diagnostic Interview for Children and Adolescents (DICA).  Children were matched based on their ADHD diagnosis, sex, educational placement, and co-morbidity illness. After matching, children were randomly assigned to either the treatment program or a wait-list control group.  Children in the intervention program received an 8-week social skills training program which was modified to be appropriate for children with ADHD.  Weekly, 90-minute group sessions were held during the program.  Additionally, parents could attend 3 sessions designed to inform parents about the program and to ensure they were monitoring their child’s homework completion.  Children and parents were assessed at pre-test, post-test, and 3 months after the program’s conclusion on measures of cooperation, assertion, responsibility, self-control, and empathy.  All participants were present at all three data collection points.

Results: At baseline, children in the treatment condition did not differ from those in the control group on any measures.  At post-test and follow-up data collection at 3 months, no program impacts were found on measures of parent or child cooperation, parent responsibility, parent or child self-control, or child empathy.  At both post-test and follow-up, children and parents in the treatment group had increased assertion scores compared with their counterparts in the control group.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Antshel, K. M. & Remer, R. (2003).  Social skills training in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A randomized-controlled clinical trial.  Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 32(1), 153-165.

Program categorized in this guide according to the following:

Evaluated participant ages: 8-12 years / Program age ranges in the Guide: middle childhood

Program components: clinic-based, provider-based, or miscellaneous; parent or family component

Measured outcomes: social and emotional health and development; behavioral problems

KEYWORDS: Children, Middle Childhood (6-11), Adolescents (12-17), Clinic-Based, Social/Emotional Health, Behavioral Problems, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Life Skills Training, Counseling/Therapy, Education, Parent or Family Component., Academic Achievement, Caucasian or White, African-American or Black, Asian.

Program information last updated 12/20/07