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4 year olds with ADHD

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American Academy of Pediatrics now says children as young as four years and as old as 18 can be diagnosed with ADHD. The prior age limit had been six years and that was based on research culled ten years ago on children aged six to twelve. Now the parameters are expanded and treatment can be as well.

“There is now enough evidence to address this broader age range,” said Dr. Mark Wolraich, lead author of the report released Sunday at the AAP National Conference. “We know that identifying and treating kids at a young age is important. . . because the earlier we can provide treatment, the better chance of success.”

ADHD has become the most commonly diagnosed neurological disorder for children. Signature behavior includes hyperactivity, an inability to focus and stay on task, impulsivity and poor social skills.

This should not trigger a trend to medicate four year olds. In fact there are better ways to work with toddlers through behavioral therapy and parent training. Consistency and structure are crucial.

Still, Dr. Wolraich says low doses of Ritalin can help very young children with particular symptoms when needed.

"Kids who don’t get treated are at a much higher risk for everything from low self-esteem to poor grades to being socially immature. . . They can go many years with daily reminders that they can't do what other kids do. . . and it just wears them down. . . parent have to be their child’s advocate and get them the help they need,” continued Dr. Wolraich.

And the earlier the better.

Source: AAP, MedicalNewsToday

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