Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)

Department

Medicine

First Advisor

James Leckman

Subject Area(s)

Cognitive psychology

Abstract

This study was designed to measure performance of ADHD students compared to their control counterparts on a non-pharmacologic intervention in the form of an after school program designed through the Integrated Brain Body and Social (IBBS) project established at Yale University. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a growing concern as it affects between 4-15% of school-aged children. Although pharmacologic treatments have largely proven effective in managing ADHD symptoms, potential adverse effects, high costs, and incomplete responses argue for other treatments for children with ADHD. The purpose of this study was to evaluate student performance on an interactive computer program consisting of 3 activities designed to improve subjects' cognitive domains most affected by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This non-pharmacologic approach is created to be game-like in play while maintaining the training techniques necessary to improve one's focus, impulse control, and eventually higher cognitive functioning. Thirty-nine students from four local elementary schools, ages 5 to 9, were selected for the program, 16 meeting the study criteria for ADHD, and 23 not, serving as the control counterpart. Students participated in a 4 day per week after school program spending approximately 45 minutes of the session engaged in the interactive computer software, completing the different training tasks, whose progress was tracked on-line by the administrator. Both groups benefited from training although differences were noted among the separate tasks in rates of improvement and ADHD students improved more gradually on some tasks. Observations noted during implementation of this cycle as well as recommendations for future implementation are offered. Overall, parent and teacher feedback as well as subjective observations of the author at completion of program cycle highlighted student improvement in behavior modification, notably vocal outbursts, as well as time on-task and engagement.

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