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Examines the evidence base regarding effectiveness of interventions aimed at supporting children and young people aged 0 to 25 with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in education settings.

After a number of stages of assessment of the quality and relevance of the evidence obtained from a search of academic journal databases, 11 studies were identified as suitable for inclusion in the Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA).

The review of evidence found there is no clear, unambiguous evidence to show there are specific interventions that can be classed as able to definitively address ‘what works’. As the report highlights: there have been few robust assessments of school based interventions to support children and young people with ADHD. However some evidence of positive outcomes across a number of interventions were identified.

  • Overall, the evidence reviewed suggested that non-pharmacological interventions delivered in educational settings may lead to small to medium improvement in ADHD and externalising symptoms, and some small or very small improvement in academic outcomes.
  • The evidence regarding the impact of specific single interventions is less strong than the evidence for groups of interventions.
  • Contingency management involves the use of reward and punishment to alter the frequency of target behaviours, such as off-task or disruptive behaviour, and may also have a small effect on improving academic outcomes.
  • Interventions such as altering academic instruction or academic materials potentially offer more benefit for academic outcomes, but less impact on problem behaviours than other intervention types.
  • The only interventions which showed relatively convincing evidence of having no beneficial effect were performing screening for ADHD in a primary school setting and/or providing primary school teachers with written advice about ADHD.
  • Assessment of the effects of specific types of interventions largely comes from reviews of less robust study designs and, as a result conclusions on the extent to which interventions are effective would require further research.


Effectiveness of educational interventions to support children and young people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: rapid evidence assessment , file type: PDF, file size: 1 MB

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David Roberts

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