iSelfControl: an iPad application to monitor and improve classroom behaviour in children with ADHD

A pilot study conducted in the USA sought to assess the feasibility and impact of utilising a web-based application for tablet (iSelfControl) designed to improve self-regulation of children with ADHD in the classroom setting. In addition, the utility of iSelfControl in gathering information which could aid the evaluation of improvements in students’ self-awareness and self-regulation, and inform classroom behaviour management was also evaluated.

iSelfControl is a self-evaluation tool used during school hours. The app prompts children to self-rate their classroom behaviour every 30 minutes (referred to as a ‘Center’) by scoring their performance in different domains.* Adaptive behaviours are rewarded with earned points, while maladaptive behaviours decrease the number of points earned. Concurrently, the classroom teacher evaluates and rates the students’ behaviour over the same time period on a separate iPad. Students are able to see if their self-rating agrees with the teacher-reported scores, and can monitor their progress throughout the day on charts displayed on the iPad.

This study was conducted over a 6-week period in one classroom (grade 5) at a facility operated by a public university that delivers a regular curriculum integrated with a universal token economy behaviour management system. Participating children were males with ADHD (n=12; mean age=9.75 years), alongside their classroom teacher (n=1). Only days where 90% of student–teacher concurrent ratings were available were considered for data analysis, which resulted in a total of 13 days (68% compliance) of paired data entries and a total of 141 student–teacher paired observations.

Over the study period, iSelfControl was consistently used and well received by the majority of the students (70%) and their teacher, and provided opportunities for self-reflection that complemented the conventional cognitive behavioural therapy administered in the classroom.

Student-reported mean scores at the first iSelfControl ‘Center’ of any given day were significantly higher than teacher-reported scores (p<0.05); however, the change in scores across the day as rated by the students did not significantly differ from that reported by their teacher (p=0.70).

Some students showed a consistent tendency to over-rate their classroom behaviour, while others tended to under-value their self-regulation abilities. These findings might guide classroom behaviour management by encouraging more frequent reflections on self-regulation in the former group while heightening the awareness of behavioural progress in the latter.

This study is limited by the lack of statistical power to enable inference of conclusions about diagnostic and demographic factors as potential covariates. In addition, this pilot study was carried out in a special laboratory school setting where children were already receiving a universal token economy system, which precludes the extrapolation of the results to more conventional settings. Nevertheless, the findings indicate that the use of iSelfControl may support the progress of self-awareness and self-control in children with deficits in these domains.

Read more about the feasibility and pilot study of iSelfControl here

*Following directions; following rules; staying on task; and getting along with others

 

Date of preparation: November 2016; Job code: INTSP/C-ANPROM/NBU/16/0002i


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  1. Schuck S, Emmerson N, Ziv H, et al. Designing an iPad app to monitor and improve classroom behavior for children with ADHD: iSelfControl feasibility and pilot studies. PLoS One 2016; 11: e0164229.

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