Focus on Clinical Research: A school-based program for children at-risk for ADHD.

Child Study Center researchers including James Leckman, Denis Sukhodolsky and Kevin Pelphrey are partnering with Bruce Wexler of the Department of Psychiatry and with Jinxia Dong, a former Chinese national gymnast and director of the Research Center for Sports Studies and Society at Peking University. They are working with the Hamden Public School System, a school in Beijing and a private start-up company based in New Haven’s Science Park, C8Sciences ( to implement  a school-based program for children with or at-risk for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This project is funded by a prestigious National Institutes of Health Director’s Transformative Research Award. Awards are given to support bold and innovative scientific ideas that have the potential to create or overturn fundamental paradigms.

The program, entitled Integrated Brain, Body and Social (IBBS) Intervention, is for 6 to 9 years-old children with ADHD or at high risk for ADHD. The guiding scientific idea behind the IBBS program is that innovative computer games and complementary sports activities will stimulate and enhance the developing neural systems of the children. The IBBS program involves: (1) an advanced set of web-based brain exercises; (2) a physical education curriculum aimed at improving the same skill sets that are the focus of the computer-based brain exercises; and (3) a social skills program that rewards children for displaying on-task behaviors in the classroom. IBBS is being implemented as an after-school program in Hamden and more than 60 families have already signed up for the two-hour after-school sessions that are running four days a week for 15 weeks. In addition to the children with ADHD, a number of typically developing children are also participating. Blinded ratings of ADHD symptoms and performance scores on standardized neuropsychological tasks are being collected so that the effects of the program can be thoroughly assessed.

This article was submitted by Liz Pantani on January 10, 2013.

Dr. James Leckman

Related People

James Frederick Leckman

Neison Harris Professor in the Child Study Center and Professor of Pediatrics

Denis Sukhodolsky

Associate Professor in the Child Study Center

Bruce E Wexler

Professor Emeritus of and Senior Research Scientist in Psychiatry