Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Parent Assisted Social Skills Training for Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Parent Assisted Social Skills Training for Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Article excerpt

ADHD is defined as a developmental disorder characterized by developmentally inappropriate degrees of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Children with this disorder often have co-morbid conditions such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Learning Disabilities, which adversely impacts the family and community. When they reach the age of adolescence, these children are also at greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse and suffer from problems with family and peer relationships that continue into adulthood (Barkley, 2006).

In a meta-analysis research, 303 full-text articles were reviewed and the worldwide prevalence of ADHD was found to be 5.29% (Polanczyk et al., 2007). Studies in India conducted in hospitals or outpatient clinics, with referral bias, suggest prevalence of 5.2% to 29.5% (Mehta et al., 2012).

Social skills and Social competence

During their lives, young children become members of many new groups including family, neighbourhood, friends, school and community organisations. Social skills are the foundations of getting along with others and are required to deal with the demands and challenges of everyday life. Ever since the 1990s, social skills have been defined as situation-specific behaviours that enhance the overall social functioning of a person, resulting in personal and social satisfaction (Mathur & Rutherford, 1994).

Social competence refers to the consequences or outcomes of a person's interaction with other people. The social competence in terms of short-term social consequences need to be considered from three aspects-firstly, if other people experience negative feelings after interacting with the child, secondly, if the child feels any negative emotions or thirdly, if the outcome of the interaction is negative. Over time, the short-term consequences of behaviour accumulate to produce long term outcomes. These include popularity with others, number of friends, feelings of loneliness and the overall quality of relationships with other people.

Social skills & social competence deficits in children with ADHD

In order to have a comprehensive understanding of the social skills training process, it is very essential to review the type of social skills deficits present in children with ADHD.

Deficits in interpersonal behaviour

Children with ADHD demand a great deal of attention from others, with their behaviors often being more intense or forceful than the situation requires. In various studies, children with ADHD were rated by their peers as individuals who started fights and arguments more than non-ADHD children (Hodgens et al., 2000; Maedgen & Carlson, 2000).

Children with ADHD have difficulty in following the implicit rules of good conversation. Their communication style often differs than their typically developing counterparts. They are likely to interrupt others, talk more during spontaneous conversation, pay minimal attention to what others are saying, and respond in an irrelevant fashion to the queries or statements of peers (Stroes et al, 2003).

Also, they have a need to take control of situations while playing, and become intimidating, and stubborn about having things the way they want. Thus, they are disruptive to the smoothness of the on-going stream of social interactions, reciprocity, and cooperation (Barkley, 2006).

Deficits in Emotional regulation

Children with ADHD frequently exhibit increased emotionality, displaying greater degrees of explosive, unpredictable, and oppositional behaviour. Barkley emphasized that children with ADHD display a greater emotional reactivity to "charged" events and possess less capacity to regulate emotional/arousal states in the context of goal-directed behaviour (Barkley, 1997).

In an experimental design, Maedgen and Carlson (2000) examined emotion regulation of children with ADHD. The researchers used an emotion control task that assesses children's expressive responses to receiving a disappointing prize. …

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