From the Journals

Early reading aloud, play reduced hyperactivity at school entry



A video-based intervention to promote parents reading aloud and playing with their child reduced hyperactivity at school entry and had sustained behavioral effects after the program was completed, according to results of a randomized clinical trial.

The Video Interaction Project (VIP), in which parents review and reflect upon recordings of themselves interacting with their children, is a low-cost, scalable intervention that has a “high potential” for enhancing social and emotional development by reducing disruptive behaviors, the study authors reported in Pediatrics.

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“With our findings, we support pediatric preventive intervention from birth to 5 years,” wrote Alan L. Mendelsohn, MD, of Bellevue Hospital Center, New York, and his coauthors.

The study included 675 parent-child dyads enrolled post partum at an urban public hospital serving low-income families. Of that group, 450 families were randomized to the VIP program from 0 to 3 years of age, a control group, or a third group that included a different intervention called Building Blocks that incorporates parenting education newsletters, learning materials, and parent questionnaires.

In the VIP intervention, parent-child dyads participated in up to 15 one-on-one sessions from 2 weeks of age to 3 years. In each 30-minute session, the parent and child were video recorded for 5 minutes of play or shared reading; immediately afterward, the parent would review the video with a bilingual facilitator to identify positive interactions and reflect on them.

As previously reported, the VIP intervention had enhanced children’s social and emotional development. Compared with controls, children in the VIP group had higher scores in imitation/play and attention at the end of the program and lower scores in separation distress, hyperactivity, and externalizing problems, according to investigators.

Now, investigators are reporting results that include a second phase of random assignment to VIP from 3-5 years or a control group. The second-phase VIP intervention included nine 30- to 45-minute sessions enhanced with new strategies designed to support the rapidly emerging developmental capacities of preschoolers, Dr. Mendelsohn and associates said. Ultimately, 252 families completed the 4.5 year assessment.

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