Executive Function Training for Preschool Children With ADHD: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
Shuai L., Wang Y., Li W., Wilson A., Wang S., Chen R., Zhang J.
OBJECTIVE: This randomized controlled study explored the efficacy, feasibility, and acceptability of executive function training (EFT) for preschool children with ADHD. METHOD: The current study design was an 8 week randomized parallel groups, single-blinded trial, using EFT-P. A total of 96 children with an ADHD diagnosis at age 4 to 5 years old were randomized into the intervention group and waitlist group. In the intervention group, 46 out of 50 participants completed the 8-week program, compared with 39 out of 46 in the waiting group. The level of ADHD symptoms and the executive function (EF) were evaluated by both neuropsychological tests from NEPSY Second Edition (NEPSY-II) and Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function Preschool version (BRIEF-P). RESULTS: The EFT is feasible to administer and is acceptable for preschool children, with a 93% retention rate. Results showed that following the intervention, the visual-motor precision (p = .024), ADHD diagnostic state (p = .01), and oppositional defiant symptoms (p = .023) improved significantly in preschool children. However, the symptoms of ADHD and other EF evaluations were found to be insignificant. CONCLUSION: The EFT is feasible, acceptable, and potentially effective to reduce symptoms and improve EF for preschool children with ADHD. The next step is to extend the program time and provide more frequent practice of activities between the children and the therapist and/or parent, to improve the effectiveness.