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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An evaluation : the efficacy of an interpersonal cognitive problem-solving skills program for teenage students with ADHD-like symptoms Kavanagh, Kelly Anne


An Interpersonal Cognitive Problem-Solving Skills (ICPS) program was implemented in a Special Education classroom, over a 5-week period, for adolescents who have ADHD-like symptoms. All of the students in the investigation attend the Special Education classroom for at least one teaching block three times per week. Eight students (3 female and 5 male students), average age of 14.75 years, in grades eight (n = 3), ninth (n = 3), and tenth (n = 2) participated in this study. Students attended the 50-minute ICPS program twice a week, demonstrated significantly improved. This study compared the social competency of the participants at Pre-test (1 week before the start of program) and Post-test times (3 weeks following program completion) by considering the opinions and observations of school staff, and parents and the students themselves. Each student was asked to respond orally to a self-report scale of behaviour, the Behavior Assessment System for Children (Reynolds & Kamphaus, 1997). Also, changes in problem-solving skill levels were considered with an ICPS Task. Consideration of questionnaires for school staff addressed generalizability from the ICPS group setting to other areas outside the ICPS group environment. The described experience of the ADHD students throughout the process was essential to monitoring the effectiveness of the ICPS Program. The BASC-SRP found that many of the eight students in this study experienced social problems that are typical of diagnosed ADHD students. Two of eight students reported having emotional symptoms, three of eight students reported experiencing school problems, one of eight students reported problems with anxiety and social stress, and lack of personal coping strategies, two of eight students reported having problems in their relationships with peers and parents. The Semi-Structured Questionnaire found that students enjoyed substantial decreases negative social behaviours like bullying (38%), being argumentative (63%), dominating time in class (50%), and refusing to participate in class activities (50%). Also between 50% and 63% of students seemed to increase their use of positive ways to mediate the roles they played in group interactions and 63% of the students increases the frequency of maintaining eye contact with a speaker, and speaking to others about ones ability. When asked how often they use the six steps of problem-solving, between 38% and 50% of students reported increasing their use of 'understanding what others say', 'generating options to solve problems,' 'recognizing consequences of actions,' (Step 4), 'choosing between alternatives,' and 'evaluating past solutions.' Even though the ICPS program didn't seem to have the immediate impact of increasing students' ability to relate with peers or in making friends, it is the researcher's opinion that the new skills set learned during the ICPS program would eventually allow for increased social competencies leading to increases in relationships with peers and making friends. The comparison of students performance on solving social problems at Pre-test and Post-test yielded results that suggest little change in problem-solving ability occurred for most students. Only two out of seven students (29%) improved in their total score on the ICPS Task at Post-test, two more students (29%) stayed the same on their performance of the problem-solving task, and three other students (43%) actually showed a decrease in performance on the ICPS Task at Post-test. The ICPS Task found that 50% of participants of this study seemed to leam the skill of 'determining the source of the problem.' And 38% of students seemed to learn the skill of 'determining consequences of alternatives.' Tall the students performed poorly on 'generating alternative solutions' and evaluating chosen solutions'. According to school staff, all of the seven students were reported to enjoy very specific changes in how they related to others in the classroom setting from increasing participation in classroom activities, sharing more opinions with fellow classmates, being more patient and ignoring things that are unimportant when dealing with conflicts with peers, and being less physically invasive when joking around with others. Of particular interest was the report that students also seemed to develop skills in the areas of using self-talk to curb swearing and other inappropriate behaviour, and using of self-control to better manage disruptive behaviour, combating what Barkley (1998) calls a developmental delay in inhibition. When the students were asked to report, in the Open-Ended Questionnaire for Students, five of eight students (63%) agreed that they experienced positive changes in social behaviour at Post-test such as listening when interacting with others. Two of eight (25%) experienced changes in relating to others in the classroom environment, four of eight (50%) of students reported noticing changes in the amount of social support received from others, while three of seven (43%) of school staff reported positive change in the amount of support received from others. When asked to evaluate the ICPS program at Post-ICPS test time, overall the students found the ICPS program very useful for learning something about social competency. It was found that six of eight (75%) of the students reported that they did learn something from the program. When specifically asked what they liked about the ICPS program, there answers included the role-plays and the Feeling Word games. When the students were asked what they learned, five of eight (63%) reported learning how to cooperate better with classmates, how to learn more about the kinds of people their classmates are, and how to be more respectful of others. All of these things could likely lead to a better grasp at taking the perspective of others

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