Educational or Curriculum

Dinosaur School

Initiative Description: Families of 159, 4- to 8-year-old children with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) were randomly assigned to parent training (PT); parent plus teacher training (PT + TT); child training (CT); child plus teacher training (CT + TT); parent, child, plus teacher training (PT + CT + TT); or a waiting list control. All intervention conditions came to the clinic “Dinosaur School,” which was offered in 2-hr sessions for 18 to 19 weeks (lasting approximately 6 months) with two therapists and six to seven children. The Dinosaur School program specifically addressed interpersonal difficulties that research has shown are problematic for young children (ages 4 to 8) who have ODD. These include lack of social skills and conflict resolution skills; loneliness and negative attributions; inability to empathize or to understand another’s perspective; and problems communicating, playing, cooperating with peers, and complying with parent or teacher requests. In addition, letters were sent to teachers and parents explaining the key concepts taught that week and the rationale for the targeted skill (e.g., sharing, teamwork, friendly talk, listening, compliance to requests, feeling talk, and problem solving).

Study Results: All PT conditions resulted in less negative and more positive parenting for mothers and less negative parenting for fathers than in the control group.

Level of Evidence: 3 out of 5 stars Very Good