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Parent-Mediated Sports and Social Skills Training For ADHD-Diagnosed Children

Grant Winner

  • David Reitman, Ph.D. – Center for Psychological Studies


  • Ronald Levant – Center for Psychological Studies


Children diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder frequently experience social problems. Initial attempts to promote the acquisition of social skills via medication, group therapy, or through cognitively-oriented didactic instruction have proven of limited value. Recently, researchers have developed multimodal treatment protocols that have incorporated parents, teachers, peers, and medication into social skills intervention packages. Less frequently, training in athletic and social competence (i.e., sports skills and sportsmanship) has been used in an attempt to facilitate social relationships. Researchers have demonstrated that athletic and social competence can be improved in training settings, but few attempts have been made to promote generalization of these skills to settings outside of the treatment sessions. In the present study, we will evaluate a parent-mediated social skills training program using a multiple baseline design across four participants. Outcome assessment will focus on direct observation of the children's behavior in the sports setting; before, during, and after intervention, but measures of social skills, treatment acceptability, and global measures of behavioral improvement (rating scales) will also be obtained. If effective, these methods could be evaluated in a larger study examining the social impact of such training on the social status of rejected ADHD children over an extended period of time. Training parents to effectively coach their children in social skills may also prove useful in preventing some of the negative effects of social isolation that commonly accompany an ADHD diagnosis.

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