Most children with ADHD are not diagnosed until the elementary school grades. With very young children it is harder to distinguish between what is normal rambunctious, inattentive, and uninhibited behavior from what is abnormal and symptomatic of ADHD. Inattention and high activity level are typical behaviors of preschoolers, but of course, most do not have ADHD.
Although most children are not diagnosed with ADHD until they are six years or older, those youngsters exhibiting very significant difficulties with ADHD symptoms are now being identified at a younger age, enabling them to receive earlier intervention. Recent and ongoing research as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics' (2011) revised guidelines for the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of ADHD address ADHD in preschool-age children and how to best treat the disorder in this population.
Early identification of ADHD or any related developmental problems and early intervention can make a huge positive difference in the life of the child and family. It can significantly minimize the social, behavioral, or learning difficulties the child experiences as a result of the disorder and prevent a lot of struggle down the road.
Developmental Signs and Symptoms of ADHD in Young Children
Teeter (1998) summarized the research regarding key characteristics of ADHD during the preschool stage, some of which include the following:
Parental stress is at its zenith.
Often difficult ...
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