The Incredible Years program uses parent training intervention program to help "children with early onset conduct problems" (Incredible Years, 2010). An efficacy study of it reports that it should be considered as "a first-line intervention" that has "lasting positive effect on ADHD symptoms in pre-school children" (Jones, 2007, p. 9). Children retained a significant portion of the program's benefits "18 months after the end of intervention" (p. 9). But the study notes limitations: the children were pre-school (ADHD is not typically diagnosed until elementary school), and there are limitations to parent self-reporting (their biases will affect their reports). The benefits of the program, he persuasively argues, are significant if it can be used in lieu of, or forestalls, stimulant medication. Criticism of intervention programs that avoid medication should be balanced against the liabilities associated with stimulants: expense, possible negative side-effects, resistance to stimulant medication based on ethical issues. Fabiano echos this (Fabiano, 2003).
The program seeks to improve family communication with affective involvement by using less-harsh and consistent discipline (Incredible Years, 2010):
- using "attention and appreciation" to build "self-esteem"
- playing with children
- "ignoring negative behavior" by not making eye contact
- avoiding criticism and demands
- developing friendship and empathy skills
Incredible years (2010). Retrieved September 19, 2010 from http://www.incredibleyears.com/
Incredible years (2010). Agendas and Checklists for ADHD Protocol Retrieved September 19, 2010 from http://www.incredibleyears.com/Library/items/parent-training-program-ADHD-montreal_08.pdf
Jones, K., Daley, D., Hutchings, J., Bywater, T., & Eames, C. (2007). Efficacy of the Incredible Years Basic parent training programme as an early intervention for children with conduct problems and ADHD. Child: Care, Health & Development, 33(6), 749-756. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2214.2007.00747.x.
Schroeder, V., & Kelley, M. (2009). Associations Between Family Environment, Parenting Practices, and Executive Functioning of Children with and Without ADHD. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 18(2), 227-235. doi:10.1007/s10826-008-9223-0.
Toplak, M., Bucciarelli, S., Jain, U., & Tannock, R. (2009). Executive Functions: Performance-Based Measures and the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) in Adolescents with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Child Neuropsychology, 15(1), 53-72. doi:10.1080/09297040802070929.