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Online Parent Training for the Initial Management of ADHD referral (OPTIMA)

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects around 4% of UK children - 90% of whom also display substantial levels of difficult-to-manage behaviour called oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). This can stress parents, grind them down over time and lower their self-esteem. This is bad for both children and parents. Parents often wait until problems reach crisis-point before seeking professional help. Recognising their needs, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that such parents get support and training as soon as possible after they seek professional help - even before their child receives a full clinical assessment. However, because clinical services are over-stretched and appropriate parent training is expensive, families often wait a long time before they receive this vital input.

The proposed solution

We have created an internet-based parent training course, called STEPS. This training provides low-cost support for parents and it can be easily accessed at the point that families seek help. The aim of the OPTIMA programme is to see if STEPS helps parents reduce their children’s ODD behaviours during the difficult waiting period after families first seek help. The project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research through a Programme Grant for Applied Research (RP-PG-0618-20003) awarded to South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. The programme is being delivered across three sites (King’s College London, the University of Southampton and the University of Nottingham) and through a number of NHS Trusts. Please note that OPTIMA is a trial and, as such, the STEPS app is not yet publicly available.

For more information on OPTIMA, please email Dr Kasia Kostyrka-Allchorne, OPTIMA Programme Manager.