Summer Treatment Program Helps Children with ADHD

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Recently, 35 children with ADHD completed the Cincinnati Children’s Summer Treatment Program (STP), a seven week program providing intensive behavioral interventions within a fun-filled camp setting. Children, ages 8-12, learn to improve social skills, manage frustration, and follow instructions while participating in sports and classroom activities. It’s one of only 14 evidence-based, award-winning STP programs in the country.

All of the activities at STP involve a large number of trained counselors. There is one counselor for every two children. Treatment is tailored to each child and emphasizes positive reinforcement through a point system. Children gain points for positive behaviors and lose points for negative behaviors.

“This gives children immediate feedback and the children use this feedback to make sure they are aware of their behavior and the effects of their behavior as well as the skills they need to be successful,” said Aaron Vaughn, PhD, director of the Summer Treatment Program and clinical psychologist at Cincinnati Children’s.

Parents are encouraged to attend weekly group training sessions provided to learn effective behavior management techniques to improve compliance and promote their child’s ability to complete age-appropriate tasks at home and school. Parents also receive a daily report card about their child’s day at the STP.

Josh Mervis of Indianapolis commuted more than 90 miles to Cincinnati to enroll his 11-year-old son, Solly, who was diagnosed with ADHD at age 3. “It’s been a life changing experience for my son and for my family,” said Mervis. “He is a healthier, happier child who is able to function more on his own.”

Over the course of the summer, counselors are able to see children make significant gains that may not occur in outpatient or a therapy setting.

“We know the most effective intervention for children with ADHD is a combination of medication along with behavioral treatments. The treatment offered by STP is the most intensive behavioral treatment that is available,” said Jeffery Epstein, PhD, director of the Center for ADHD at Cincinnati Children’s. “And the STP has proven to help children with ADHD develop the skills they need to manage their behavior.”

About Cincinnati Children's

Cincinnati Children’s, a non-profit, pediatric, academic medical center established in 1883, is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. It is one of the top three recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health, ranked third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals, and a research and teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine. Its patient population includes the eight-county primary service area covering parts of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. A destination for children with complex medical conditions, it also served patients from all 50 states and nearly 70 countries during the past year. Additional information can be found on the Cincinnati Children's website. Connect on the Cincinnati Children’s blog, via Facebook and on Twitter.

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Shannon Kettler