Publication Date



Background/aim Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often present with pragmatic language deficits and difficulties with peer–peer friendships. Parents and typically developing peers (TDPs) may be able to assist via parent and peer‐mediated intervention approaches when adequately supported by trained adult facilitators. This study investigated whether a parent‐delivered play‐based intervention supported by occupational therapists and speech language pathologists was feasible and improved the pragmatic language skills of children with ADHD and their TDPs. Methods Nine children with ADHD paired with nine TDPs (mean age = 8.2 years) participated. The seven‐week intervention was delivered by parents of children with ADHD at their home and consisted of weekly assigned home‐based modules, supported play‐dates between the pairs of children and supplemented by three clinic visits. Parent adherence to intervention activity was monitored on a weekly basis. Blinded ratings of observed peer–peer play interactions were used to detect changes in pragmatic language from pre–post intervention and one month follow‐up using the Pragmatic Observation Measure (POM). Results All parents reported completing the seven weekly home‐based modules and attended all clinic visits. Significant improvements in observed pragmatic language skills were found from pre‐follow‐up for both the ADHD and TDP children and pre–post for the ADHD children. Conclusion The preliminary findings suggest that using parents to facilitate their child's pragmatic language skills was a feasible intervention approach with parents acting as agents of change to improve the pragmatic language of their children. This exploratory study identifies the need for further large‐scale research to address the pragmatic language skills of children with ADHD using parent‐delivery in a play‐based, peer–peer context.


School of Allied Health

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.