Parenting and childcare courses help reduce ADHD symptoms among children

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a disorder most often associated with children, and relates to an inability to concentrate on something without becoming distracted. It can also affect an individual’s capacity to control their behaviour – whether verbal of physical – which often manifests itself in impulsiveness and restlessness.

It is a disorder that can wreak havoc on the lives of parents, siblings, and the sufferers themselves. And there are many of them, with some estimates suggesting that 1 in 20 children are at risk.

Until now, the solution has been medication. A research team at NUI Maynooth recently conducted a study that suggested that as much as 85 per cent of children with ADHD are treated chemically. This comes with the serious ethical concern over whether it is right to introduce long-term drug ingestion into the lives of so young a patient group. There are also natural substitutes that can treat ADHD.

Another solution

But is there an alternative According to the researchers, yes there is – parental training and childcare courses.

The research team evaluated a four-year parent and child-training programme which combined parent, child and teacher training. The study found that positive affirmation was far more effective than punitive action in helping children deal with any emotional or behavioural difficulties they were experiencing.

While the study was carried out on a particular programme, the researchers suggest that similar parental training and childcare courses can treat and prevent the behaviours associated with ADHD. They also helped the parents deal with the issues by increasing their own awareness of the child’s behaviours and the reasons behind them. Medical treatment is also absent from such programmes, meaning they acted as a far more ethically sound first line of defense and treatment too.


Frank Bolger

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