Tuesday, September 25, 2007

ADHD In The Preschools

ADHD is no longer the "in" diagnosis for just school-age children, but is also the new "in"diagnosis for the preschool aged kids as well. Attention deficit disorder is now the most common mental health diagnosis for children ages 3 to 5. Stimulant drugs are increasingly prescribed "off-label" to younger children, even though the FDA has not approved Ritalin, Adderall and other stimulant ADHD medications for children under the age of 6. The dangers and side effects are much higher for children under the age of 6 and the effectiveness is much lower for this age group as well. According to the September 2007 issue of Harvard Mental Health Letter there are things families should be trying before resorting to drugs for ADHD preschoolers. Here are a few:
--Parent training, based on the belief that parental negligence, harsh discipline, or intrusiveness could be triggering hyperactive behavior in a child along with impulse control.

--Setting appropriate limits and using moderate punishments as well as rewards.

--Specialized daycare
The most popular among these is the parent training. Parents are taught how to set the appropriate limits and to use the punishments and rewards system correctly. Basically, be slow in making a diagnosis, and definitely be sure. Please, consider any alternatives like the parent training or specialized daycare, or even something not mentioned here like all natural treatments, before resorting to stimulant drugs. Seems to me that anything is better than your toddler depending on something like that.

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