Behavioral interventions

Lauren M. Friedman, Linda J. Pfiffner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Specific Learning Disorder (SLD) are two commonly co-occurring conditions—each associated with serious, chronic impairments. Comorbidity is often associated with synergistic, deleterious effects on functional outcomes. Behavioral interventions are the most widely researched, frequently implemented, and consistently effective non-pharmacological treatment for ADHD. Despite the considerable co-occurrence, the effect of SLD comorbidity on outcomes of behavioral interventions for ADHD is surprisingly understudied. This chapter begins with an overview of behavioral theory; ensuing sections review behavioral intervention modalities effective for children with ADHD (i.e., behavioral parent training, school-based interventions, child organizational skills, and their combination). The empirical support for each behavioral approach, with an emphasis on education-related outcomes, is reviewed. Extant literature suggests that while behavioral interventions produce significant, powerful effects on ADHD symptoms, externalizing behaviors, compliance, organization, and social skills, their effects within the school setting, particularly within the domain of academic achievement, are attenuated significantly. Although further study is warranted, the findings suggest that behavioral interventions are necessary but not sufficient for children with ADHD/SLD comorbidity. Therefore, multimodal treatment targeting ADHD (i.e., behavioral intervention, medication) and SLD (i.e., direct instruction, tutoring) is necessary to address the cross-domain deficits associated with comorbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Clinical Guide to Assessment and Treatment of Childhood Learning and Attention Problems
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780128157558
ISBN (Print)9780128162583
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Behavioral Intervention
  • Behavioral Parent Training
  • Specific Learning Disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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