Non-drug approaches and adaptations in classrooms can help children diagnosed with ADHD to succeed, according to a systematic review of studies published in Health Technology Assessment. However, it is not yet clear how much these approaches help, or which types of techniques are most effective or cost-effective.
The review involved researchers from Kings College London and the Hong Kong Institute of Education, and examined studies published between 1980 and 2013. A press release summarized that, “The team found 54 studies (39 randomised controlled trials and 15 non-randomised studies) that tested many different ways of supporting these children, such as having daily report cards filled in by teachers and parents to give consistent and regular feedback, or study and organisational skills training, which can help children achieve better attainment levels, reduce hyperactive behaviour and increase attention.”
The researchers determined that, overall, these approaches seemed to be able to have positive impacts on children’s success in school. However, the press release summarized, they “found so many different types of strategies, often combined in different ways and so many different ways of measuring whether they worked, that it was impossible to clearly identify what works best.”
“Findings suggest some beneficial effects of non-pharmacological interventions for ADHD used in school settings, but substantial heterogeneity in effect sizes was seen across studies,” the researchers stated in their conclusions. “Future work should consider more rigorous evaluation of interventions, as well as focus on what works, for whom and in which contexts.”
Simple classroom measures may reduce the impact of ADHD (University of Exeter press release on MedicalXpress, July 1, 2015)
Richardson M, Moore DA, Gwernan-Jones R, Thompson-Coon J, Ukoumunne O, Rogers M, et al.Non-pharmacological interventions for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) delivered in school settings: systematic reviews of quantitative and qualitative research. Health Technol Assess 2015;19(45) (Abstract)