Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmetnal disorders. Current data suggest that the prevalence rates in school age children is between eight to ten percent. This is a disorder which is characterized by significant inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity.
New Guidelines For an ADHD Diagnosis:
The American Academy of Pediatrics published new guidelines regarding the initial diagnosis of the condition. According to these new guidelines, children can now be officially diagnosed with the disorder when they are as young as four years old. Prior to these new guidelines (which were just published this month) a child was unable to be diagnosed with the condition under he or she was six years old.
What benefit does an early diagnosis pose? Quite a bit of benefit for families who have a child with the condition. These children are now able to receive accommodations and interventions within the home and school domains to ensure social and academic success.
There have been plenty of past policy statements that document the best practice for treating ADHD. Now these young children will be able to receive treatments that they might otherwise have been missing out on. The American Academy of Pediatrics published a best practice paper for the intervention of ADHD in 2001. In a nutshell, the paper states that the two primary interventions for ADHD include the use of stimulant medication and behavioral therapy. Donna Palumbo, a neuropsychologist from New York, wrote a chapter in a pediatric neuropsychology textbook in 2007 “Pediatric Neuropsychological Intervention“, that updated the AAP practice guidelines to include parent training and social skills training in addition to the already mentioned stimulant medication and behavior therapy.
What are your thoughts on children getting diagnosed as young as 4 years old for ADHD?