Child Development Central

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New Guidlines for ADHD Treatment and Evaluation

New ADHD guidelines encourage improved preschool diagnosis and intervention

The American Academy of Pediatrics just released updated guidelines for the evaluation and treatment of ADHD.   Although specialists have been identifying ADHD in preschool children before now, the guidelines expand the 'official' age range for diagnosis down to age four.  They still encourage behavioral inteventions before medication in preschool children.  Early indentifcation often allows families to address issues before they escalate, and helps keep children on track in their development.

Among several other recommendations, the guidelines also emphasize looking for conditions that co-occur with ADHD, a vital aspect of care.  Most children with ADHD have something else going on with it, ranging from a learning disability to oppositional behavior to any number of concerns.   For families using medication the importance of 'titration' is reaffirmed, as best results frequenlty require trying more than one medication and various doses before choosing what fits for any individual child.  While there is little emphasis in the paper on the role of executive function, the guidelines should improve care and clarify evaluation and treatment of childhood ADHD.

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Full text of the guildelines are available here.

 

Mark Bertin, M.D.,is a developmental behavioral pediatrician, an assistant professor of pediatrics at New York Medical College, and the author of The Family ADHD Solution.

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