QUEENS COLLEGE PRESCHOOL PROJECT
RECEIVES $2 MILLION GRANT TO STUDY
ATTENTION DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER IN CHILDREN
FLUSHING, NY, May 10, 2004 -- A significant number of preschool children are being treated for hyperactivity and disruptive behavior, characteristics typically associated with AD/HD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder). Although these treatments are helpful for some children, others may not need them at all.
“What we know is that a lot of young children seem impulsive and hyperactive, but this may be just a behavioral blip that disappears,” says Dr. Jeffrey Halperin, a Queens College Professor of Psychology. “On the other hand, some children do not outgrow their symptoms.”
Identifying the factors that predict which children develop actual AD/HD is the focus of a $2 million National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grant that Halperin and the Queens College Preschool Project (QCPP) staff were recently awarded. Within their child-friendly laboratory suite at the college, QCPP staff members conduct comprehensive cognitive and behavioral evaluations of preschoolers, and then track their development over several years.
According to Halperin, “If we can identify who will develop AD/HD, we can have more focused early intervention with the children, and may be able to modify parenting behaviors to better help the children.” As a result, in the near future, young children with behavioral difficulties and their parents may have the opportunity to benefit from such interventions that might help during the often difficult school years. In addition, parents of children participating in the study will have the advantage of learning the results of the ongoing evaluations and having consultations with Halperin and his staff.
Critical to the Preschool Project’s work is developing relationships with local schools. Over the years, the QCPP has reached out to preschools in Queens through workshops, and in turn schools have sent children to participate in QCPP research. With this newly funded study, Halperin and his staff plan to extend their outreach not only to additional schools, but to regional pediatricians and mental health professionals.
For this particular study, the QCPP plans to recruit 225 children with and without behavioral difficulties. About two thirds of these children are expected to be recruited through screenings conducted at local preschools, while the remaining will be clinical referrals from pediatricians, mental health workers and parents. To learn more about this study, contact the QCPP directly at 718-997-3210.
Halperin, who has been at Queens College since 1989, also holds appointments in the PhD programs in Neuropsychology and Educational Psychology at the City University Graduate Center, and is associated with the Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. He has been an active clinical researcher in the area of AD/HD and child behavior disorders for over two decades, and has received several prior federal and non-federal grants to support his ongoing research program. He is especially excited about this new project, which he feels offers a unique opportunity to examine the interplay of biology and environment.
Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY) is dedicated to the idea that a first-rate education should be accessible to talented individuals of all backgrounds and financial means. Founded in 1937, the college offers an exceptional liberal arts curriculum, with over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs, that assures students an education for a fulfilling life and career. Located on a beautiful 77-acre campus in Flushing, Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and professional programs. Its nearly 17,000 students come from more than 140 nations and speak 66 languages, creating an extraordinarily diverse and welcoming environment. The college’s outstanding faculty members have received numerous fellowships, awards, and research grants, including two Guggenheim awards and two Fulbright grants in the past year (2003).