thinkSMART: an executive function intervention for adolescents
Ellis, Alissa, Ph.D.
Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
Description of Research Project:
The thinkSMART program is a behaviorally-based skills training that focuses on time management/time awareness, task initiation/task completion, organization, planning/prioritizing, emotion regulation, and mindfulness. The program is for 12-15 year olds with executive dysfunction. Although a diagnosis is not required, many youth participating have ADHD, anxiety, mood, or other neurological disorders. The thinkSMART program is based on an empirically supported group treatment for adult ADHD and has been adapted for this educational program to be acceptable and appropriate for a broad population of youth with executive dysfunction. It is a unique skills-based program incorporating parent and child, and involving in-class education, skills training and exercises, mindfulness training, and homework activities. The development of strong executive functions is improved with daily practice and reminders of skill use, and parents are included in order to support their child’s understanding and use of the skills.
Description of Student Responsibilities:
The program is made up of a small, enthusiastic team looking for an individual who is very independent, self-directed, creative, detail-oriented, organized, and interested in clinical research! The research assistant will assist in all aspects of program maintenance and research development. The RA will help to design our research database, prepare materials for each group, keep record of families interested in program participation, respond to inquiries, and prepare weekly skills reminder emails that are tailored to each group. The RA will also help with research fidelity - scoring assessments completed by parents and children and help to design and maintain the research database. The RA will help to create more program materials as needed under the guidance of the program director. The student will also have the opportunity to learn the intervention through attendance at one of the program sessions. Groups are held during the evenings on Monday and Thursdays, so student must be able to attend one of the sessions.