Improving the quality of services for children with ADHD in Norway

Services for the transition from kindergarten to school of Norwegian children with ADHD 

ADHD- Norway image

Photo: Livework

What was the problem?

Improving healthcare services can be challenging. Complicated organizational structures and the use
of outdated technology, typical to healthcare institutions, don’t support continuous improvement. Design as an approach offers an alternative way to improve services.

The Director of The Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health in Norway challenged the service designers of Livework to help improving the quality services for children and young adults with mental health problems. The goal was to demonstrate the role of Centre as a supporting partner to improve the relevant services in the field.

What have they done?

The project team first identified an enthusiastic leader in the front-line services that the designers
could work closely with. He helped to point out a focus area for improvement, children with ADHD
related problems. According to the experts this particular area presented a problem to a large group
of children and families – who were all looking for improvement.

To really improve the service offered to children with ADHD, the designers needed to identify where
in the service it was most likely to make an impactful improvement. After careful analysis of
academic research and interviews with experts and families, one area revealed itself a high impact
spot for improvements – the transition between kindergarten and school.

The research showed that this transition is a critical one. Without the right support, children with
ADHD related problems can quickly develop unwanted behaviours and potentially get socially
excluded when transitioning from kindergarten to school. Both professionals and parents saw
potential to change something prior to the transition. In order to identify the right interventions and
hotspots, all relevant actors contributed to this topic in a workshop.

What was the result?

The designers recommended to change the timing, scale and process of the different examinations
the child would go through in an ADHD assessment – without giving them the diagnosis. This new
approach supported structured plans for each child’s transition from kindergarten to school.

The plan included strategies and tips and tricks on how parents and teachers should treat the child during the transition. The structured plans helped both the school and the parents being better prepared to support the child in the right way as school started.

Photo: Livework

Photo: Livework

During the final stage of the project the designers helped to set up a pilot. The scope of the pilot
included a limited number of schools and kindergartens in a Norwegian municipality. As part of the
pilot the kindergarten would identify which children they thought might face problems once at
school. These children would then receive the new service approach prior to starting school.

The pilot, conducted in 2012, provided clear indications that relatively simple service improvements
had significantly positive effects for schools, teachers, mental health professionals and the kids
themselves and their parents. The pilot proved that the proposed service improvement could be
delivered by the organisation. Currently scaled-up pilots are executed to understand to which degree
the new service design can be implemented on a larger scale across Norway.

More information 

« All Case Studies