Effects of psycho-educational training and stimulant medication on visual perceptual skills in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Antigone S Papavasiliou, Irene Nikaina, Ioanna Rizou, Stratos Alexandrou
Department of Neurology, Pendeli Children’s Hospital, Athens, Greece
Abstract: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is treated with stimulants and psycho-educational remedial programs despite limited literature support for the latter. This study aimed to examine changes in a “Test of Visual Perceptual Skills” (TVPS) that has not been previously reported in children with ADHD enrolled in such a program.
Methods: Sixteen children, 7–11 years old, with ADHD were involved in occupational therapy and special education geared towards attention training. Six months later methylphenidate 1 mg/kg/day was prescribed. It was not taken by eight children because of family choice. The TVPS was given twice, upon diagnosis, and 8 months post-intervention. The groups were compared by a repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) with medication as a between groups factor and test-retest scores as within factor.
Results: All children demonstrated increases in total scores in the second measurement. Medicated children scored higher but ANOVA showed a nonsignificant F for the two groups, medicated and unmedicated (F = 0.0031, p = 0.9563), indicating a non-differential effect of the two levels of treatment. It revealed a significant F for the pre- and post-treatment total TVPS scores (F = 30.91, p < 0.0001) indicating a significant difference between pre- and post-treatment tests. The interaction between pre-post treatment and level of treatment (medicated–unmedicated) was nonsignificant (F = 2.20, p = 0.1604).
Conclusion: TVPS scores improved in all children following intervention. Medicated children did better, but differences were nonsignificant.
Keywords: ADHD, stimulants, psycho-educational therapy, TVPS
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