BUFFALO, N.Y. -- While working with parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at the University at Buffalo, Gregory A. Fabiano noticed something was missing: the fathers. Fabiano, an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Education, made the discovery while still a graduate assistant at the UB Center for Children and Families, which runs a summer treatment program that has helped more than 2,500 children with behavioral, emotional and learning problems. The program uses sports as a way to teach children peer-relationship skills, Fabiano said.
I knew a lot of the dads in that program, because they would show up early to watch their kids on the soccer fields or the softball fields and wed chat it up when we were out there, recalled Fabiano, who teaches in the counseling, school and educational psychology department.
But then they would take their child and go home in the one car, and then the mom would drive up in another car and go to the parenting group, he added. I thought There is something wrong with this picture.
To find out why fathers of children with ADHD werent participating in treatment programs, or why some initially participate, but then drop out soon after, Fabiano turned to research literature on the subject and foundnothing.
I was surprised to find there were no studies on dads with kids with ADHD and so I thought this would be a good area in which we could try to do something. My dissertation was trying out a parenting program specifically for fathers, using sports as a kind of hook to get the dads interested and the kids too, Fabiano said.
His new research program, designed for children 6-12 years of age, includes two formats: a control group of fathers and children who receive traditional, evidence-based treatments for ADHD families and another group that receives the same, plus a sports element, in this case, soccer games. This second group is dubbed COACHES, or Coaching Our
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University at Buffalo