Updated guidelines from the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) offer new information on diagnosing and treating Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in younger children and in adolescents.
Emerging evidence makes it possible to diagnose and manage ADHD in children from ages 4 to 18 (the previous AAP guidelines, from 2000 and 2001, covered children ages 6 to 12). The new guidelines describe the special considerations involved in diagnosing and treating preschool children and adolescents. They also include interventions to help children with hyperactive/impulsive behaviours that do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for ADHD.
"Treating children at a young age is important, because when we can identify them earlier and provide appropriate treatment, we can increase their chances of succeeding in school," said Mark Wolraich. "Because of greater awareness about ADHD and better ways of diagnosing and treating this disorder, more children are being helped."
ADHD is the most common neurobehavioral disorder in children, occurring in about 8 per cent of children and youth.
According to the AAP guidelines, in preschool children (ages 4 and 5) with ADHD, doctors should first try behavioural interventions, such as group or individual parent training in behaviour management techniques. Methylphenidate may be considered for preschool children with moderate to severe symptoms who do not see significant improvement after behaviour therapy, starting with a lower dose. For elementary school children and adolescents, the AAP recommends both FDA-approved medications and behaviour therapy.
"Because ADHD is a chronic condition, it requires a team approach, including the patients, their parents, the paediatrician, therapists, and teachers," Wolraich said.
REHACARE.de; Source: American Academy of Paediatrics