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Why Parents and Doctors Should Think About A.D.H.D. in Preschool

Preschool children are supposed to run around a lot and jump from one activity to the next. Trying to decide whether a 4-year-old’s activity level or attention span is truly problematic can raise a challenging mix of questions and concerns about children being medicated for behaving, well, like children.

In 2011, when the American Academy of Pediatrics began including preschoolers in its guidelines for diagnosing and treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, some media reports blasted the idea. Were we planning to medicate toddlers? Would A.D.H.D. diagnoses surge once pediatricians started looking for it in preschoolers?

On the other hand, thinking about attention deficit problems at a very young age can help those children who are really struggling academically and socially. And notably, the recommendation for first line treatment for an A.D.H.D. diagnosis in a preschooler is behavioral therapy, not drugs.


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