Summer Treatment Program

Are you looking for something more than medication to help improve your child's behavior? The Center for Children and Families (CCF) at the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) offers an award-winning comprehensive treatment program for children's behavioral, emotional, and learning problems.

The Summer Treatment Program (STP) has a proven track record of effective treatment for more than 2,500 children and families. Based on its excellence in providing treatment for children with ADHD, the STP has been featured on national television news and in national magazines. The STP has also been used in clinical trials conducted under

the auspices of the National Institute of Mental Health, has been named a Model Program in Child and Family Mental Health by the American Psychological Association and SAMHSA, and has been named a program

of the year by CHADD, the national parent advocacy group for children with ADHD. The STP has also recently been listed in SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.

The program runs from late June or early July through mid-August, on weekdays. Go to Summer Treatment Program 2010 for current dates, hours, and rates or contact the CCF.

The STP offers a comprehensive treatment program for behavioral, emotional, and learning problems of children entering grades 1-6. This program is composed of a set of evidence-based treatments incorporated into an 8-week therapeutic summer day camp setting. Group and tailored individual treatment plans are implemented by trained paraprofessionals under the supervision of experienced senior staff members.

Group sessions consist of 15 children paired with 4 clinical staff members for the duration of the day, encouraging development of group interaction and friendships.

Group activities include two hours in behavioral modification sessions conducted by developmental specialists. Sessions focus on treatment of problem behaviors in a classroom context, and may include individualized and computer-assisted instruction, as well. The remainder of each day consists of recreationally-based, age-appropriate games and group activities, with implementation of a variety of integrated treatment components.

Our Goals:

  • Development of the child's problem solving and social skills, and of the social awareness necessary to enable him/her to get along better with other children
  • Improvement of the child's learning skills and academic performance
  • Development of the child's abilities to follow instructions, to complete tasks that he/she commonly fails to finish, and to comply with adults' requests
  • Improvement of the child's self-esteem by developing competencies in areas necessary for daily life, such as interpersonal, recreational, academic, and other task-related areas
  • Instruction of parents in how to develop, reinforce, and maintain these positive changes
  • If appropriate, evaluation of the effects of medication on the child's academic and social functioning in a natural setting


Treatments includes individually adapted reward and response-cost programs; training in group problem solving, social , and contracting skills; instruction in overcoming learning deficits; strategies for improving concentration, task completion, and self concept; time out, and a daily feedback system. Treatment plans and strategies are continuously monitored and modified as necessary.

Treatment Summary

A final report, which includes detailed information regarding the effects of these interventions and recommendations for future treatment, is sent to parents and referring professionals at the end of the program.

Although the STP is highly structured and emphasizes treatment, parents should be aware that most children enjoy the STP tremendously. In addition to being beneficial for them, the program is also fun.

Parent Training Groups

Parents form an integral part of STP by participating in weekly group evening sessions. Parent sessions are designed to help parents develop skills to reduce problem behaviors, to improve their child's task skills and relationships with parents and peers, and to maintain and extend the gains made in the STP to the child's natural at-home environment.

Medication Evaluation

If indicated, the efficacy of medication treatment for the child is evaluated. A comprehensive and carefully controlled evaluation is conducted covering all major areas of the child's functioning (i.e., social behavior, academic performance and productivity, and self concept) that could be affected by medication treatment. By evaluating medication effects in conjunctions with other treatments, the effectiveness of combining medication with those treatments is addressed. Following assessment of medication effects, the program provides the referring physician and parents with a report detailing the child's response to medication and makes specific recommendations regarding the possible usefulness of psychoactive medication for continued treatment.


Children entering 1st through 6th grade are eligible to participate in the program. Enrollment is limited, and participants are selected based on an evaluation conducted by program staff. Psychological tests required for admission are performed by program staff, but recent testing from other sources may be acceptable in some cases. Children with ADHD, oppositional disorders, aggression, learning problems, or children with mixed behavior and learning problems are evaluated. Referrals can be made by school personnel, mental health professionals, physicians, or parents. Those children who meet certain criteria are offered admission.

STP Staff

The program is implemented by highly trained, undergraduate paraprofessional therapists, students pursing advanced degrees in psychology, and educational specialists. Supervision and oversight are carried out by highly experienced staff members who have been conducting treatment programs for ADHD children for over 20 years. The psychosocial and behavioral aspects of the program are supervised by doctoral level psychologists. The medical aspects of program are supervised by developmental pediatricians and/or child psychiatrists. While in the classroom, children are supervised by a teacher and a developmental aide. For more information on working in the STP, please see the Employment and Internship Opportunities page

Program Evaluation and Investigation

The STP uses only treatments that have been well documented and shown to be effective through research; however, program staff continue to evaluate treatment effectiveness. Data are gathered via several methods, including observational, psychometric, neuropsychological, and rating measures, evaluated to determine individual and group responses to treatments.

To help further the understanding of behavioral problems in children, information is gathered from children and their families enrolled in the program. Children may be asked to participate in a variety of programs, including performance measures of computerized tasks involving different aspects of learning, attention, and memory, or assessing how children interact with one another in competitive task situations. Similarly, parents may be asked to complete rating scales or to be observed in controlled settings that measure different aspects of family functioning. In order to maintain confidentiality and a complete understanding of these projects, parents are asked to sign consent forms that describe each project prior to their child's participation in the project.

STP Effectiveness

The acute response to the STP has been evaluated in a large group of ADHD children over a period of five years.Parent and staff ratings of effectiveness were uniformly positive. Over 95% of parents rated both their children and themselves to have benefited from the STP and said that they would send their child to the program again if given the opportunity 99% of parents said that they would recommend the program to other parents. 96% of parents said that their children not only improved but also liked the STP. These positive evaluations undoubtedly contribute to the very low dropout rate (only 3%) that the STP had over the 5 year period.

The STP has been replicated at many sites around North America, including both community and academic settings. All sites have reported the same positive clinical results and parent satisfaction that have characterized the results at our site. The STP has been a component of psychosocial treatment for children in clinical prevention trials funded by NIMH, NIDA, and SAMHSA-CSAP, with similar positive results.

What Parents and Professionals Say About the Summer Treatment Program

"The STP is the best treatment program in the world. You know the old saying, 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery'. I modeled my own program on the STP."

James Swanson, PhD, Director, Child Development Center and Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, University of California, Irvine

"The STP is a remarkable program--all encompassing, thorough, and incredibly integrative--that targets those skills and problems most in need of remediation in youngsters with ADHD. Staff, families, and children themselves are quite taken with the strides that are made in the 8 week period--all in all an impressive behavioral program that I highly endorse."

Stephen P. Hinshaw, PhD, Professor of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley

"The greatest thing about the Summer Treatment Program, and the greatest thing for us to see, is how happy and enthusiastic he is coming here. He looks forward to it, he is eager, he plays hard, he has fun, he learns, he succeeds, he feels better. We can see his growth and we see him feeling better about who he is."

Mother of an 8-year-old boy

"The Summer Treatment Program is a very positive experience for kids, but it is also a positive experience for the family because you come and get positive reinforcement from the counselors, from the supervisors, and the child is not beaten down every day by his peers. It just follows across all the line of your life, from family and home to being out socially."

Mother of a 10-year-old boy

"I feel like I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel for the very first time. It's a long tunnel but no longer a dark one."

Mother of a 7-year-old boy

"It was a real turning point--the best summer of our family's life!"

Father of an 8-year-old boy


Fees for the Summer Treatment Program are established in recognition of the cost of offering such a service. Health insurance plans may cover portions of the cost of this program; however, payment levels vary depending on the specific provisions of respective plans. During the application and screening process, each parent has an opportunity to meet with a representative from the Center for Children and Families, who can answer questions concerning health care benefits and other important financial aspects associated with the Summer Treatment Program.

How to Apply

To learn dates of the upcoming program and to initiate the application and screening process, interested parents or professionals should call the Center for Children and Families at 716.829.2244 ext. 5, between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday throught Friday, or write to:

Center for Children and Families
State University of New York at Buffalo
106 Diefendorf Hall
3435 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14214

Application forms and instructions are also available for download (Acrobat Reader required)

Parent Application Packet

Teacher Ratings Packet

Enrollment is limited, and parents are encouraged to apply as early as possible

Please note that the STP is a day treatment and does not provide housing for children. Parents who do not live in the Buffalo area may pursue their own housing arrangements for the summer.

STP Sites Around the World

In addition to the hub site in Buffalo, plans to offer STPs this summer are underway at several other sites. Interested applicants should contact these sites directly for additional information:

Starting an STP in My Area

Clinicians who are interested in beginning a new Summer Treatment Program site, or who are interested in purchasing materials for STPs or ADHD clinical services, should contact Dr. William Pelham for more information.

For more information about the STP, contact:

UB Center for Children and Families
State University of New York at Buffalo
106 Diefendorf Hall
3435 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14214

Fax: 716.829.3692

2010 Summer Treatment Program


Treatment Programs Application Packet (PDF)

STP Employment Opportunities