Carmit Frisch

Carmit Frisch, BOT, MSc. PhD student, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Haifa, Israel. 
Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Child Development Center, Maccabi Health Services, Haifa, Israel
Developing a parents’ focused model to improve the daily functioning of young children with symptoms of ADHD; investigating its feasibility and efficacy – a pilot study

Current literature regarding children with ADHD contains increased resources that relate the functional limitations experienced by these individuals to their deficient executive functions (EF) as early as kindergarten age. Accordingly, literature recommends that intervention programs for young children with ADHD focus in improving their EF in the context of their daily functioning.
Nevertheless, only a few such intervention programs have been developed, and there exists a need for the development of an intervention program that focuses on executive functions, their implications on daily performance, and which also supplies a significant role for parents during the intervention process The
objectives of current study:

  1. To develop a theoretical model for the improvement of daily and executive functions of young children with symptoms of ADHD through parental guidance;
  2. To investigate the effectiveness of an intervention program to be developed by the model;
  3. To identify factors of the intervention process which are significant to its success;
  4. To improve the theoretical model, accordingly. The model and the intervention program are being developed in order to enable parents to understand the nature of their child's deficits and to promote their daily functioning.

Method: Participants: 60
couples of parents of children with symptoms of ADHD, aged 4-7. So far 57 couples of parents have been recruited. Children are referred by their pediatricians / parents / teachers due to functional and behavioral difficulties which are suspected to be caused by ADHD. Parents of children who meet the criteria for the disorder are included in the study group or paired to the comparison group (with a waiting period of approximately 8-12 weeks).

The intervention is performed at child development institutes within the Maccabi Healthcare Services and at 8 privet clinics. It includes 8-10 meetings which focus on the relationships between the child's EF deficits and his/her functions, and provide parents with tools to better understand their child's functioning in order to assist him in improving his/her daily performance.

There are four evaluations for each group. The study group is evaluated at the beginning of the intervention, at its completion, two months later and after an additional two months. The children in the comparison group are evaluated on their acceptance to the waiting list, after two months of waiting (and before the beginning of the
intervention), at the end of the intervention, and two months after the end of the intervention.