Background: An estimated 2.5% of children experience attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Effective interventions can substantially improve the wellbeing of these young people.Methods: We used systematic review methods to identify randomized control trials (RCTs) evaluating interventions for children with ADHD. Applying our inclusion criteria to the 88 studies identified from our searches, we accepted six RCTs.Results: Substantial research supports the effectiveness of parent training interventions — which teach positive behavioural strategies — for treating childhood ADHD. The evidence supporting child Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Behavioural Therapy (BT) is also particularly strong, spanning many studies. Positive evidence on Neurofeedback is also starting to emerge. The medications methylphenidate, dextroamphetamine and atomoxetine all have strong evidence of success over multiple RCTs. Two RCTs on guanfacine showed some evidence of success; however, both had significant ties to the drug’s manufacturer.Conclusions: For childhood ADHD, practitioners can offer a range of good options, such as parent training as well as child CBT and behavior therapy. These psychosocial treatments have the benefit of showing benefits months after the intervention ends. Still, some children may require appropriate medications to effectively manage their ADHD. Any young person prescribed a medication for ADHD needs regular monitoring for both benefits and side effects.
Schwartz, C., Waddell, C., Barican, J., Andres, C., Yung, D., & Gray-Grant, D. (2017). Helping children with ADHD. Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly, 11(1), 1–16. Vancouver, BC: Children’s Health Policy Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University.https://childhealthpolicy.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/RQ-11-17-Winter.pdf
Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly
Helping children with ADHD
Vancouver, BC: Children’s Health Policy Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
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