Newly published results from an ADHD treatment study provide some amazing insights when it comes to dealing with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), focused on Japanese parents and their ADHD children. Similar to Western cultures, Japanese guidelines recommend a combination of guidance by parents, support by schools, individual counseling for the child, and medication.
Since there are fewer support resources available for ADHD management in Japan, most parents have to resort to using medication for their children. According to an updated report on February 22, 1017, the Japanese Psychological Research Association states that treatment methods “often favor medication use as psychosocial options are less widely available.”
ADHD treatment for children in the United States
While Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms for children and adults are the same internationally and consist of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity, the methods for the learning disability’s treatment still vary widely around the world.
In the United States, numerous methods of dealing with ADHD are available. Some of them include parent education, parent support through numerous organizations, parent training in behavior therapy, behavior management in the classroom, peer interventions at school, and organizational skills training.
In addition or in lieu of medication, many of these programs alleviate the challenges that come with ADHD. Alternatives to ADHD medication are crucial since (according to the CDC) the long-term effects of ADHD medications on young children (under the age of 6) have not been well-studied and “have more side effects from ADHD medications than older children.”
ADHD in Japan
Unlike the United States, parents in Japan do not have the variety of support programs available to deal with their children’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. As for now, most of the support comes from university studies like OIST.
The lack of support systems has a direct impact on the child and its parents. The learning disability has a negative impact on the well-being of parents, their parenting practices, and the relationship between parent and child.
Parents who have to face their children’s condition alone feel helpless, experience high levels of stress, and might adopt counterproductive parenting strategies.
The Japanese study
An interesting insight provided by the Japanese study was the involvement of mothers versus fathers in a child’s ADHD treatment. Traditional gender behavior in Japan is still quite prevailing. While men are breadwinners, women are the homemakers and the main caretakers for their children.
As such, it is no surprise that only mothers contacted OIST in order to participate in the ADHD research study. Five Japanese mothers and children between the age of 6 and 12 years participated. Two of the children were prescribed methylphenidate (Concerta) while being part of the study.
Over the course of 8 weeks, the Japanese moms met with researchers and learned various techniques in dealing with their children’s ADHD. Presentations, role-playing, and individual as well as group discussions covered topics like behavior classification, effective communication, behavior charts, positive feedback, and setting limits.
In addition to behavior modifications for their children, the Japanese moms learned about the importance of self-care, stress management, and communication among adult family members.
The study’s conclusion
Even though the ADHD study was conducted by Japanese researchers, the group leaders were still stunned by the lack of male involvement in their child’s life. Researchers were also surprised by the cultural resistance to being able to praise a child.
The moms participating in the study emphasized that they needed much more support for stress management and the ability to better communicate effectively with other family members, health care providers, and educators.
One of the most amazing insights coming from the Japanese research study was the moms’ desire to understand more about the positive aspects of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.