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Teachers and Parents as Partners-Vertical (TAPP-V): Supporting Students with ADHD Across Grade-Level Transitions

Research Team


Principal Investigator: Matthew Gormley

Funding Information

Funding Agency: Office of Research and Economic Development—Layman Award

Award Date: May 1, 2018

End Date: Dec 31, 2019


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder defined by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. It is among the most common reasons for mental health referral for school-aged children with more than 6 million U.S. families — 9.4 percent — being told their child meets criteria for this disorder.

Although effective treatments exist in the short term — such as training parents and teachers in specific behavior management techniques — students with ADHD often do not benefit from these treatments in the long term.

Teachers and Parents as Partners (TAPP) is a flexible intervention that can be applied in both home and school environments, and can be tailored to each individual student. The four-stage process includes identification of target behavior and goals, development of a plan to help the student meet his or her goals, plan implementation at home and school, and evaluation.

This study aims to modify the TAPP intervention to continue across a summer break to provide ongoing benefit to students with ADHD. Research will take place in Lincoln, Nebraska. Participants will include six students meeting criteria for ADHD and their parents. Student participants will be recruited from elementary schools in the Lincoln Public Schools district, and will:

  • be enrolled in a grade 1-4 general education classroom,
  • have at least one significant behavioral concern affecting academic performance,
  • receive a score at or above the 90th percentile on either the inattentive or the hyperactive-impulsive sub-scale of the ADHD Rating Scale and
  • display no significant symptoms of developmental disability, autism, intellectual disability, sensory impairment or brain damage, given these students’ need for specialized intervention.

Classroom behavior will be observed by graduate students and measured using a 15-minute direct observation method that records on-task behavior (e.g., reading) every 15-seconds and off-task behavior (e.g., calling out). Parents and teachers will assess the acceptability of the teacher-to-teacher consultation intervention, a two-phase process designed to support students with ADHD.

After an 8- to 10-week process to identify, measure and change problem behavior, the second phase will begin after summer break, when the consultant, parent, previous teacher and new teacher meet to transfer the behavioral intervention plan and school-family partnership to the new teacher.

Intervention will continue until each student meets his or her behavioral goal for the new school year. The long-term goal of this research is to support children with ADHD’s academic, behavioral and social functioning — at home and school — throughout their academic careers.

Social, Emotional and Behavioral Well-being, Academic Intervention & Learning

A recent research project explores whether teacher-to-teacher consultation can maintain gains in positive behavior from students with ADHD during their transition from one grade to the next.
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