May 23, 2024

Early diagnosis and intervention important for children with ADHD

A conversation with UCalgary psychologist Meadow Schroeder on why an ADHD diagnosis is key for success
Child studying
ADHD is one of the most common disorders in youth. Pexels photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in Canada, affecting five to eight per cent of children. Meadow Schroeder, an associate professor in the Werklund School of Education, is an ADHD researcher, with a focus on preparing students with ADHD for the transition to post-secondary learning. She says early diagnosis and intervention is important.

“There are actually many consequences for kids that go undiagnosed,” she says. “So, it's really important that if a child does have ADHD, there's some really early intervention where they're getting some really good life skills and strategies that can help them be successful all the way into adulthood.”

In a recent video interview, Schroeder provided insights into the ADHD diagnosis process for children in Alberta and the importance of behavioural strategies for academic success. She also offered a glimpse into her research project — a video game created in collaboration with Dr. Richard Zhao, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science.

This interactive platform allows youth with ADHD to navigate through a virtual high school environment, interact with different characters about ADHD, and understand its impact on them. They can also learn about post-secondary education, the importance of advocacy, when and how to seek help and the resources available for them.

“I think some of the keys are getting your child to understand what their strengths are and what their learning needs are so that it can be really good advocates for themselves,” Schroeder says.

The video game is currently in development and going through testing with academic partners.  The long-term goal is to have the game available to all high school students.

The University of Calgary has several ongoing ADHD studies anyone can sign up for. Please visit our Participate in Research page and enter “ADHD” in the keyword box. 

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