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Effects of a summer treatment program on functional sports outcomes in young children with ADHD

Briannon C. O'Connor, Gregory A. Fabiano, Daniel A. Waschbusch, Peter J. Belin, Elizabeth M. Gnagy, William E. Pelham, Andrew R. Grenier, James N. Roemmich
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 2014 v.42 pp. 1005-1017
behavior disorders, behavior modification, children, cognition, life skills, parents, sports, summer, youth
Participation in youth sports can be very beneficial, but children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may participate less often and less successfully. The current study evaluated functional sports outcomes for children with ADHD who attended an intensive behavioral treatment that included a sports training component, as compared to children with ADHD who did not attend the treatment. Results suggest that treatment resulted in significant improvements in many aspects of children’s sports functioning, including knowledge of game rules, in vivo game performance, and fundamental skill tasks (motor proficiency, ability to trap a soccer ball appropriately, reduce handball penalties in soccer, and catch a baseball). Parents also reported improved sports skills and good sportsmanship in the treatment group. No differences between groups were evident on additional skill tasks evaluating accurately kicking a soccer ball, throwing a baseball, or hitting a baseball off a tee. These results suggest intensive behavioral intervention that includes sports training can significantly improve functional sports outcomes for young children with ADHD.