Improving Social Functioning in Children with ADHD: What Parents and Caregivers Can Do

In this presentation Drs. Glanzman and Nissley-Tsiopinis provide an overview of the development of social function in children and its link to executive function. They also provide an overview of the reasons for, and types of, social challenges seen in students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  They provide information about how ADHD affects all areas of social functioning, including social knowledge, social interactions, friendships and peer perceptions, and they explain how ADHD may derail social functioning, especially the establishment of quality friendships.  Next, they review psychosocial treatments, including child/teen skills training and how parents/caregivers can effectively intervene in the home setting. Finally, they describe the research evidence for interventions that may improve brain function directly in ways that may affect social functioning, including medication, exercise, and mindfulness meditation.

These presentations were made possible by a generous donation to the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at CHOP by Janet Zolot, Judy Nissenbaum, and Lisa Maslow through the Yetta Deitch Novotny Charitable Trust. We thank our board and our team for their work on the materials.

Improving Social Functioning in Children With ADHD

Supplemental materials:

  1. References from the social functioning presentations for professionals and parents/caregivers
    This supplemental handout provides citations for the references cited in the social functioning presentations.
  2. Resource List: Books and program manuals
    This supplemental handout compiles a list of current research-based resources that parents/caregivers can reference for further information.
  3. What is ADHD?
    This supplemental handout provides information on the characteristics and diagnosis of ADHD.
  4. How is ADHD treated?
    This supplemental handout provides information on current evidence-based treatments for ADHD.
  5. How does medication effect social functioning?
    This supplemental handout provides an overview of available information about how medication may impact social functioning in children with ADHD.
  6. Helping the inattentive child who is more likely socially neglected
    This supplemental handout provides detail about how parents and caregivers can recognize and help the inattentive or inattentive and anxious, child who is at higher risk of being quietly ignored by peers.
  7. Research-based interventions that address social challenges
    This supplemental handout provides further details about psychosocial interventions for social functioning that have been found to be effective for children with ADHD. It also provides guidance on how to find a treatment provider and how to effectively collaborate with schools.
  8. Updates on brain-focused interventions for treating ADHD and social challenges
    This supplemental handout provides more information about what we know about brain-focused interventions and ADHD in relation to social functioning. The interventions reviewed include medication, exercise, mindfulness meditation, neurofeedback, brain training and dietary treatments.