The Alert Program for Attention Regulation in Children with ADHD

Study 1: Many children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) also have sensory processing difficulties, yet there are few evidence-based interventions that target both. We explored the feasibility of a 4-week group intervention using “How Does Your Engine Run?”®—The Alert Program for Self-Regulation (AP) for children with ADHD and sensory processing difficulties. The AP taught families to recognize child arousal states and to use sensorimotor strategies to manage levels of alertness. Treatment acceptability and satisfaction were high. Compared to pre-treatment and control group, large effects were found in which families increased their knowledge and use of sensorimotor strategies, and improved child ADHD symptoms after participating in the AP, and these effects were maintained at 3-month follow-up. Families that reported greater knowledge and use of strategies were those with children that had greater underresponsive/sensory seeking profiles and those with children with greater conduct problems.

Study 2: Children with ADHD and their parents participated in an 8-week group intervention based on The Alert Program® for Self-Regulation (AP). Families were taught to recognize child arousal states and to use sensorimotor strategies to manage levels of alertness. The AP was received positively by parents and children with improvements in regulation strategies and child attention at home, but more work needs to be done to generalize the effects to school and other peer settings.

Cultural Variations in Parental Literacy about ADHD

To compare the knowledge and beliefs about Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) between Chinese-immigrant and European Canadian parents, and to evaluate the efficacy of an existing ADHD information resource to improve their ADHD literacy.

Mindful Parenting Intervention for ADHD

Behavioural parent training (BPT) is an evidence-based intervention that teaches parenting strategies to manage child behaviour problems. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing attention on the present moment in an open and accepting way. We examined the effect of enhancing BPT with mindfulness to better support parents' self-regulation while managing challenging child behaviours. To do so, we are amongst the first who compared mindfulness-enhanced BPT and standard BPT among parents of children with ADHD. We found that both groups helped parents feel more confident in their parenting and helped their kids improve in their ADHD difficulties. Furthermore, parents in the mindful group improved in their self-regulation and parenting practices over and above those in the standard group. This shows some important benefits to enhancing BPT with mindfulness.  Published in Journal of Attention Disorders (2020)

ADHD Research Database

Predicting Use of Medications for Children with ADHD: The Contribution of Parent Social Cognitions

While stimulant medications are one of the most effective first-line treatments for ADHD, many parents feel uncomfortable about giving their children prescription drugs. We examined how parents’ knowledge and beliefs about ADHD and ADHD medications affected medication use for their kids. We found that parents who are more knowledgeable about ADHD and hold fewer negative beliefs about ADHD and stimulant medications were more likely to start and continue medication, as prescribed, for their kids. This highlights the need to provide more education about ADHD and also address all parents’ concerns about their treatments, and do a better job of reducing stigma. Published in Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (2020).