Special Education for Children with ADHD: Services Received and a Comparison to Children with ADHD in General Education

Gregory A. Fabiano, Justin Naylor, William E. Pelham, Elizabeth M. Gnagy, Lisa Burrows-MacLean, Erika Coles, Anil Chacko, Brian T. Wymbs, Kathryn S. Walker, Frances Wymbs, Allison Garefino, Jessica Robb Mazzant, Amber L. Sastry, Katy E. Tresco, Daniel A. Waschbusch, Greta M. Massetti, James Waxmonsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) receive supports and services in general and special education classrooms in schools. The present study aimed to report the contents of individualized education programs (IEPs) for children with ADHD and to compare the behavior of children with ADHD who had IEPs versus those with ADHD who did not have IEPs. Two-hundred one children with ADHD participating in a summer treatment program (STP) were grouped by whether they had an IEP (N = 50 children) or not (N = 151). The content of the IEPs was descriptively reviewed. Further, children with and without IEPs were compared on measures of ADHD symptoms, aggressive behaviors, academic achievement, and psychosocial impairment. Groups were also compared on functioning in the STP setting on behavioral measures of rule-following, negative behaviors, and academic productivity in situations where intensive behavior modification procedures were and were not employed. The results indicated no significant differences between the two groups on any ratings or behavioral measures, with the exception of academic achievement scores (children in special education scored lower, on average). All children improved within the context of intensive behavioral intervention. The results are discussed in light of current approaches to supporting children with ADHD in schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)818-830
Number of pages13
JournalSchool Mental Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • ADHD
  • Behavioral intervention
  • Individualized education program
  • Special education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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