Researchers at the University of Exeter have determined that simple classroom measures may reduce the impact of ADHD without having to rely on drug treatments. With help fro collaborators at Kings College London and the Hong Kong Institute of Education, the researchers poured over every relevant and available study of ADHD behavior and treatment published between 1980 and 2013.
They found that there have been numerous non-drug treatments performed in the classroom, from daily report cards to study skill training, which have had a positive impact on students who have or at risk of developing ADHD. Their research indicated that there are ways to deal with ADHD in the classroom or at home that adapt to the students’ needs, instead of simply trying to remove their ADHD tendencies.
However, they found so many different treatments and responses that they cannot make an argument as to what works best, and they certainly have no program that they can put forth to deal with ADHD. Instead, they have used the study’s results to call for future work. They want to see researchers determine which tactics work best, and then figure out why they work, and find ways to adapt those tactics to actual programs. They also want to see studies that address the cost-effectiveness of such programs.
A further point the made is that parents, teachers, and students all need to be better education on ADHD. They found that different understandings of what ADHD is or how to treat it impacts students, sometimes negatively. There are a great number of myths and misunderstandings about ADHD that can interfere with a student’s ability to cope with school, and can in turn make them perform even worse than undiagnosed ADHD.
More studies are needed to determine what kind of best practices can be developed to help students cope with ADHD, but it is obvious that non-drug treatments can, and do, have a positive impact on children who suffer from it.