A: We started it in the summer of 2000. It's called the “COACHES” program, which stands for Coaching Overactive Children and Heightening Essential Skills. What it involves is the first hour the kids practice soccer skills. The dads at the same time are at a meeting with other fathers where we introduce a parenting strategy, like how to catch their kid being good, how to use time-out. For the second hour we put the dads and kids together for a soccer game and it's like a regular Little League.
But the dad’s job is not only to coach and manage the game but to also practice those parenting skills. We've done a whole series of studies, and the results are promising. One thing we found out was that this COACHES program engaged fathers more than a typical classroom based approach that doesn't have parent-child interaction, so the dads showed up more often to the sessions, they did their homework for the parenting class more frequently, and they showed up on time and didn't leave early. We have some recent research that also shows that it improves a child's behavior and a parent's parenting skills, so it does seem to be beneficial for the dads that sign up and participate.
Q: Talk about your most recent project, which involves using a driving simulator.
A: This is a project we're pretty excited about that we're working on with some of our colleagues in the Department of Engineering and Applied Sciences. A teenage driver is by far the most at risk out of anybody in the whole pool of drivers on the road. What we also know is that if you're a teenager with ADHD, you're even more at risk than that already at-risk group. A teenage driver with ADHD is at the top of the heap for all kinds of negative outcomes. What we've developed is a program that involves the parent and teen together that uses innovative technologies to promote safe driving.