Promoting self-regulation and preventing ADHD symptoms

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Schwartz, C., Waddell, C., Barican, J., Andres, C., Yung, D., & Gray-Grant, D. (2016). Promoting self-regulation and preventing ADHD symptoms. Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly, 10(4), 1–12. Vancouver, BC: Children’s Health Policy Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University.

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Background: Some children experience challenges with self-regulation and begin to display symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We set out to determine whether early interventions could assist these young people.

Methods: We used systematic review methods to identify randomized control trials (RCTs) evaluating interventions for preventing ADHD symptoms. Applying our inclusion criteria to the 90 studies identified from our searches, we accepted nine RCTs.

Results: We found four programs — Legacy for Children, Incredible Years, Incredible Years + Child Literacy Program, and SAFE Children — that prevented one or more symptoms of ADHD. All focused on parents of young, at-risk children, teaching them skills to promote positive child development. 

Conclusions: It is possible to prevent ADHD symptoms and promote children’s self-regulation skills. Effective programs should be offer during the preschool and early school years to help avert symptoms from they become entrenched.

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