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16, 2010 -- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and homework problems often go together.Now, a simple and structured approach to doing homework appears to cut homework problems by more than half, according to a new study.Other children become too distracted by the things they keep in their bedroom and do better at a place removed from those distractions, like the dining room table. Others need to have parents nearby to help keep them on task and to answer questions when problems arise. Both you and your child need to discuss pros and cons of different settings to arrive at a mutually agreed upon location.
If they were on medications, they didn't change the dose during the study, so that the effect of the program could be evaluated more effectively.
The students were randomly assigned to a treatment group or a comparison group with no intervention.
''There was more than a 50% drop in homework problems in the treatment group compared to the control group." Parents could ask a teacher to help in the same way, he says. Some contend it will be a ''crutch'' for the child, he has found.
But he thinks that "they have to realize this is what it will take for the child to improve." The approach looks good and is especially suitable for children with ADHD, says Richard Ferman, MD, a psychiatrist in Encino, Calif., who cares for students with ADHD.
More than half the students were on medications to treat their ADHD, Kapalka tells Web MD.
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If they weren't on medications at the start of the study, they didn't start them during the study.Those in the treatment group: After two to three weeks, the groups were re-evaluated. ''You never see complete deletion of the problem," he tells Web MD.But when he looked at a variety of homework issues and scored the treatment group's performance, he found a ''dramatic'' improvement, he says.If the homework center is a place that will be used for other things (such as the dining room table), then your child can keep the supplies in a portable crate or bin.If possible, the homework center should include a bulletin board that can hold a monthly calendar on which your child can keep track of longterm assignments."ADHD kids do great in [a program with] structure," he says."It's essential, because they are not able to structure themselves." The most difficult part of Kapalka's program, Ferman says, may be the parents holding firm on the rules.This article was co-authored by Laura Marusinec, MD. Marusinec is a Board Certified Pediatrician in Wisconsin. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. from the Medical College of Wisconsin School of Medicine in 1995.The second is to build in rewards or incentives to use with children for whom “good grades” is not a sufficient reward for doing homework.Tasks are easiest to accomplish when tied to specific routines.