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Evaluation of the effectiveness of an attention enhancement program for children diagnosed with ADHD administered in the school setting

William Richard Grisanzio, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a persistent pattern of inattention and or hyperactivity-impulsivity, is a growing concern in many school districts because it is estimated to affect as much as 3 percent to 5 percent of the school age population (APA, 1994). The problem is that regardless of the currently accepted methods of treatment such as parent training, family therapy, classroom management, social skills training, and medication therapy, the symptoms of ADHD persist into adolescence at an alarming rate. Children with disorders of behavior exhibit excessive theta brainwave activity compared to normal children (Lubar, 1991). The present study administered a changing criterion treatment protocol, which integrated components of neurofeedback, meditation, and control theory, in order to decrease theta brainwave activity. The purpose of the present study was to explore whether a school system could identify specific profiles of attention with a computerized continuous performance test (CPT), administer an attention enhancement program, and remedy those deficits identified by the CPT. The subjects were 5 male children between the ages of 8 and 10 years who were diagnosed ADHD by their family physicians. Subjects were selected according to their performance on the Test of Variables of Attention (T.O.V.A.), a computerized continuous performance test. Subjects received between 18 and 26 attention enhancement sessions over a four month period during their regular school day. Although the T.O.V.A. showed moderate ability to identify specific profiles of attention, as supported by moderate Pearson correlations between T.O.V.A. impulsivity and ADHDT impulsivity (r = −.58, P < .05) and T.O.V.A. inattention and ADHDT inattention (r = −.63, P < .05), T.O.V.A. performance did not consistently improve after attention training. Although the attention enhancement program was completed within the school, there were many unforseen difficulties and impediments to its successful administration. Secondary dependent measures included the Stroop Color and Word Test, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Test (ADHDT), EEG measures, Parenting Stress Index, and Behavior Rating Profile. The results of these measures were equivocal.

Subject Area

Physiological psychology|Academic guidance counseling|Psychotherapy

Recommended Citation

Grisanzio, William Richard, "Evaluation of the effectiveness of an attention enhancement program for children diagnosed with ADHD administered in the school setting" (2000). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9988792.