An Exploration of Interventions for Children with Attention Difficulties

  • Eleanor Boylan

Student thesis: Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology


Background: Reviews prepared for recent National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines highlight a pressing need for well evidenced interventions for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which are feasible for schools to implement. Current research on this is limited. Despite both pupils with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) experiencing social skills difficulties, there is considerably less evidence for social skills interventions for children with ADHD. The current research uses the social skills overlap as a starting point for ADHD intervention research. Methods/ participants: An evaluative systematic literature review of fifteen studies sought to evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of school implementation of social skills programmes for children with ADHD. In the second paper, a quasi-experimental design was used to determine the effectiveness of a Lego Therapy intervention for three children with school-identified attention difficulties and a qualitative exploratory method was used to gather stakeholders' perceptions of the intervention. Analysis/ findings: There are few social skills interventions for children with ADHD which can be feasibly implemented within schools. Results from those which do exist are often confounded by poor methodology and small sample sizes. Results from the Lego Therapy intervention indicated small positive changes, with pupils reflecting positively on the intervention. Implications for future research are discussed. Conclusion/ implications: There is currently very limited high-quality research in this area. One way to add to this literature base is to analyse how the evidence base for ASD could be adapted for the pupil with ADHD or attention difficulties. Lego Therapy is one step in this process and provides a useful starting point for future research in this area.
Date of Award31 Dec 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorCaroline Bond (Supervisor)


  • social skills
  • attention
  • school-aged
  • intervention
  • ADHD

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