Training Key for Parents of Preschoolers with ADHD

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Training Key for Parents of Preschoolers with ADHD

By Amy Abbott January 7, 2014 3,521

A well-known program tailored to improving behaviors for children ages four to six with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is working, according to the results in an intensive, four-year study by the National University of Ireland Maynooth.

Developed three decades ago by a professor at the University of Washington, the program's stated mission was to develop cost-effective interventions to prevent and treat conduct problems in young children.

Today, the program is used all over the world, and has been studied by researchers everywhere.

While primarily a classroom tool, The Incredible Years also provides teacher and parent training by tailoring content to individual children, according to ADHS in Preschool Children: Assessment and Treatment (Oxford University Press, 2014). Honing in on the child's needs may involve helping the parent understand ADHD and its effect on a child's development, socially, emotionally and academically.

With the help of the child's teacher, the parent will set goals for the child that are developmentally appropriate, work on improving attention and focus, and reducing misbehavior. What differentiates this from other behavioral programs is the intense personal focus between parent, teacher and child.

The NUI Maynooth study determined the parent program resulted in great improvement in children's conduct problems in the classroom setting. During the third of the study's four years, researchers evaluated how combined parent and child training impacted the child after six months.

What can be taken away for parents of small children with ADHD are what the study called "emerging themes."

Many parents perceived The Incredible Years produced positive changes for their family by improving parenting skills, including empathy and problem-solving.

The non-judgmental support of teachers and other parents provided enhanced parental mood and confidence in the study.

Some parents experienced challenges while learning the new skills, including discomfort with praise and positive attention, as well as partner conflict.

Parents interested in learning more about The Incredible Years in the United States can visit

To learn more on this topic:

Parenting the Child with ADHD: Strategies that Work
ADHD Kids: Back to School Tips
Homework Help! Tips that Work for ADHD Children

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