VCU psychology receives $2.4 million grant to examine skills intervention for students with ADHD

The Institute of Education Sciences awarded a $2.4 million grant to Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Psychology in the College of Humanities and Sciences to examine the "Efficacy of an Organizational Skills Intervention for Middle School Students with ADHD."

The four-year grant will be used to compare two different types of school-based interventions for improving the academic performance of middle school-age students with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), said principal investigator Joshua M. Langberg, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at VCU. 

The first intervention, the Homework, Organization and Planning Skills (HOPS) intervention developed by Langberg, teaches students how to organize their materials, plan ahead and manage time effectively. The second intervention, homework support, helps students stay on task and focused, and to complete homework more efficiently. Students in both groups will receive the same amount of intervention in terms of number of sessions and time. The grant funding will allow Langberg and co-investigator Albert D. Farrell, Ph.D., professor of psychology at VCU, to hire school counselors to implement both intervention conditions.

"A primary goal of the project is to determine not only what works better — teaching organization and time-management skills or helping students stay focused when they complete work — but also, can we identify characteristics of students with ADHD that can be used to predict which approach will work best? This will allow schools to use resources more efficiently," Langberg said.

Langberg co-founded VCU’s Center for ADHD Research, Education, and Service, which provides much-needed evidence-based ADHD services to the Richmond area.

The IES is the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education. It funds top educational researchers nationwide to conduct studies that seek what works for students from preschool to postsecondary, including interventions for special education students.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see