Early Action on ADHD Helps Make Pharmacological Options Unnecessary
> 9/4/2007 10:41:59 AM

An ambitious study at Lehigh University examined the progress of 135 3- to 5-year-olds as they underwent interventions aimed at decreasing aggressive and defiant behaviors associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The study, which appears in the journal School Psychology Review, focused on early interventions for pre-schoolers who already showed symptoms of ADHD. Researchers from Lehigh crafted individualized programs to address the disruptive or disabling behaviors of each student. With this level of care, both parents and teachers reported universally positive gains. Aggressive behaviors were reported at a drop of 17%, and parents also reported a 21% improvement in social skills. Teachers reported a near 30% gain in both categories, and literacy skills saw enormous improvements.

Dr. George DuPaul, one of the study's co-authors, was quoted in a university press release:

“Medication may address the symptoms, but it does not necessarily improve children's academic and social skills. And because this is a lifelong disorder, without any cure, it’s important that we start understanding what tools and strategies are effective for children with ADHD at such an early age,” says DuPaul.

“There’s simply a lack of understanding about the type of non-medicinal services that are available to preschool children and their families. Our goal is to address behavior and academic issues before they become more problematic in elementary school,” he added.

It was just this summer that the Multimodal Treatment Study follow-up illuminated several important elements of long-term treatment outcomes for ADHD. One of the key findings of that study was that the perceived advantages of a psychopharmacological solution disappeared when the study was extended. This indicated that other treatment paradigms could in fact be just as efficacious as medicine. More recently, there has been discussion of other non-pharmacological treatments of ADHD that have shown promise.

What the Lehigh team has done is show that early intervention may be as important as any other component of treatment. By focusing on the disruptive behaviors at an early age, individually constructed treatments can teach children how to live successfully with ADHD. The MTS follow-up found that by and large, symptoms began to abate by late adolescence. Unfortunately, much of the damage may already be done by that time. If at the ages of 3 through 6, parents, teachers, and mental health professionals can begin to work with kids on their ADHD behaviors, families can begin to chart a path for success that will help all move forward in a healthy way.

No comments yet.

Post Your Comments

Post a comment
Email Address:
Verification Code:
Input the 8 characters you see above:


Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

About TOL | Contact Us | Defining Behavioral Fitness | For Healthcare Professionals | Links | Privacy Policy