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Raising a Thinking Child: I Can Problem Solve (ICPS) Program For Families


Myrna Shure, Ph.D.
Drexel University
245 North 15th Street, ADD MS 626
Philadelphia, PA 19102-1192

(215) 762-7205         Fax: (215) 762-8625

Parent Training Speciality
4-7 years Target
Exemplary II Rating

The focus of this program is on developing a set of interpersonal cognitive problem solving skills that relate to overt behaviors as early as preschool. By enhancing ICPS skills, the ultimate goal is to increase the probability of preventing later, more serious problems by addressing the behavioral predictors early in life. In addition to behavioral outcomes, the parent intervention is designed to help parents use a problem solving style of communication that guides young children to think for themselves. The program was originally designed for mothers or legal guardians of African-American, low-income four-year-olds. The program now includes parents of children up to age seven and has been expanded to include middle and upper-middle income populations in the normal behavioral range as well as those displaying early high-risk behaviors. These include those diagnosed with ADHD and other special needs.

The program takes ten to twelve weekly sessions to complete, although a minimum of six weeks is sufficient to convey the approach. The first section focuses on learning a problem solving vocabulary in the form of games. The second section concentrates on teaching children how to listen. It also teaches them how to identify their own and other's feelings, and to realize that people can feel different ways about the same thing. In the last section children are given hypothetical problems and are asked to think about people's feelings, consequences to their acts, and different ways to solve problems. During the program parents are given exercises to help them think about their own feelings and become sensitive to those of their children. Parents also learn how to find out their child's view of the problem and how to engage their child in the process of problem solving.

Among low-income African-American mothers, one pilot and two hypothesis-testing studies were done with their four-year-olds, and a three-year follow-up with mothers and their six to seven-year-olds. Among middle and upper middle income Caucasian families participating in the research and evaluations, relatively normal children with varying degrees of high-risk behaviors, as well as those with ADHD, significantly improved in alternative solution thinking, consequential thinking, and high-risk behaviors both in school and at home. Those trained in kindergarten or kindergarten and first grade also did better in their academic achievements.


Implementation Costs:

The program requires one trainer to deliver the program. Required program costs include purchasing one manual per parent ($19.95). Recommended for an additional overview of the problem solving approach is a companion book ($13.00) and a video ($40.00) for the trainers.

Training Costs:

A minimum of one half day of training is needed, though one or two full days are preferred. The costs per trainer average $1000 per day fee, but are negotiable with individual trainers. Travel costs (hotel, airfare, and meals per diem) are also provided to the trainer. One half-day or one-day follow up workshops are beneficial, though occasional contact by phone, Fax or email with the trainer is often sufficient. There is no minimum or maximum number of training participants per workshop. The program manuals can be included as part of the workshop cost, or sold separately. A video and companion book are optional, and available for purchase.


Revised 11/10/2002

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