Evaluating the pragmatic language skills of children with ADHD and typically developing playmates following a pilot parent-delivered play-based intervention

Reinie Cordier*, Natalie Munro, Sarah Wilkes-Gillan, Lydia Ling, Kimberley Docking, Wendy Pearce

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background/aim: Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often present with pragmatic language deficits and difficulties with peer–peer friendships. Parents and typically developing peers (TDPs) may be able to assist via parent and peer-mediated intervention approaches when adequately supported by trained adult facilitators. This study investigated whether a parent-delivered play-based intervention supported by occupational therapists and speech language pathologists was feasible and improved the pragmatic language skills of children with ADHD and their TDPs. Methods: Nine children with ADHD paired with nine TDPs (mean age = 8.2 years) participated. The seven-week intervention was delivered by parents of children with ADHD at their home and consisted of weekly assigned home-based modules, supported play-dates between the pairs of children and supplemented by three clinic visits. Parent adherence to intervention activity was monitored on a weekly basis. Blinded ratings of observed peer–peer play interactions were used to detect changes in pragmatic language from pre–post intervention and one month follow-up using the Pragmatic Observation Measure (POM). Results: All parents reported completing the seven weekly home-based modules and attended all clinic visits. Significant improvements in observed pragmatic language skills were found from pre-follow-up for both the ADHD and TDP children and pre–post for the ADHD children. Conclusion: The preliminary findings suggest that using parents to facilitate their child's pragmatic language skills was a feasible intervention approach with parents acting as agents of change to improve the pragmatic language of their children. This exploratory study identifies the need for further large-scale research to address the pragmatic language skills of children with ADHD using parent-delivery in a play-based, peer–peer context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-23
Number of pages13
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Volume64
Issue number1
Early online date27 May 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes

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