Evaluating Interventions and Accommodations for Middle School Students with ADHD

Dr. Judith Harrison is studying the effects of services used to address the academic needs of students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a middle school in East Brunswick, NJ.  
Children diagnosed with ADHD typically receive accommodations, such as extended deadlines on assignments, as a way to level the playing field with their peers without ADHD. However, there is insufficient research available that supports the use of accommodations for students with ADHD.  

Using two randomized control trials, Dr. Harrison will compare the academic achievement of 70 middle school students with ADHD during two after-school programs. Half of the students will receive accommodations including extended deadlines, detailed notes, and pre-organized materials. The other half of students will be taught skills such as time management, effective note taking, and organizational techniques. One study will evaluate the accommodations and interventions in relation to science curriculum and the other in relation to social studies curriculum.
“The academic achievement gap between students with and without ADHD appears to broaden as students progress from elementary to middle school,” noted Dr. Harrison. “By intervening while students are in middle school, we hope to teach them life long-skills that will help them achieve academic success.” 
Dr. Harrison’s research is supported by two grants totaling over $68,000 from the Spencer Foundation and the Society for the Study of School Psychology.
The results of the research studies will provide preliminary evidence of the comparable effectiveness of accommodations and skill-building interventions and will inform future hypotheses and research design. These results will be disseminated at professional conferences and through peer-reviewed publications.
Ten Rutgers undergraduate and graduate students will serve as research assistants and project coordinators on the studies, which will run through August 2018.
To learn more about Dr. Harrison and her research, visit her faculty profile