WSVN — More kids are being diagnosed with attention disorders than ever before. Now there’s a summer program that’s helping families, and the kids love it. 7’s Lynn Martinez shows us in today’s Parent to Parent.

Like many 7-year-old boys, Lorenzo loves playing games on the Wii. Two years ago, however, his mother noticed something was different.

Sandra Manzieri: “He had difficulty concentrating; he had difficulty with communication.”

Lorenzo was diagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD. He was having trouble focusing and it left him feeling frustrated.

Sandra Manzieri: “I was very concerned.”

Dr. William Pelham: “ADHD is the most common mental health problem that children experience.”

Pelham is the director of the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University. He started a unique summer treatment program just for kids with ADHD.

Dr. William Pelham: “It’s like a summer camp with some summer school thrown in.”

The program helps kids develop social skills and teaches them how to problem-solve during an eight week camp.

First, each child is assessed and gets a medical check-up. If the diagnosis is confirmed, they join the camp and take part in a nationally-funded study to determine the best treatment.

Dr. William Pelham: “Behavior modification and medication are the two strongest evidence-based treatments for ADHD.”

Of course, it’s not all about the research. Kids also enjoy art class and all the fun activities summer camp has to offer.

Dr. William Pelham: “Baseball, soccer, basketball…”

Parents are updated with a daily report card of their child’s progress.

Dr. William Pelham: “It doesn’t just list academic goals, it lists behavioral goals.”

And the best part is, the kids enrolled have made great strides.

Lorenzo is now reading and communicating better.

Sandra Manzieri: “He learned how to really speak and explain when there was a problem instead of having a meltdown.”

His parents credit this very special camp for helping Lorenzo achieve his goals.

Sandra Manzieri: “It has been a life-altering experience for us as a family.”

Lynn Martinez: The camp also prepares kids for the school year sharing progress reports with their teachers. There is a cost for the camp but the study includes free medication and follow-up exams.

Center for Children and Families at FIU
Tel: (305) 348-0477