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New ADHD Guidelines Examined

With Jane Clayson in for Tom Ashbrook

New guidelines would diagnose and treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children as young as four years old. We’ll look at the implications.

Camp attendees participate in a collaborative project during a class at UAB's 6-week Summer Treatment Program in Birmingham, Ala. A major goal of the camp is improving the social skills of children with ADHD and other behavioral disorders through various activities. (AP)

Camp attendees participate in a collaborative project during a class at UAB's 6-week Summer Treatment Program in Birmingham, Ala. A major goal of the camp is improving the social skills of children with ADHD and other behavioral disorders through various activities. (AP)

The American Academy of Pediatrics this week issued new guidelines urging doctors to begin looking for signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – ADHD – in children as young as four years old. Before, the guidelines had set the minimum age at 6 years old. Preschoolers are often rambunctious.

They throw tantrums, have trouble sitting still, and can be easily distracted. That’s normal. So does it make sense to treat children that young for ADHD?

This hour, On Point: the new guidelines, and what it means to diagnose and treat preschoolers for ADHD.

-Jane Clayson

Guests

Mark Wolraich, Professor of pediatrics, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, where he is also Director of the Child Study Center. Lead author, ADHD clinical practice guidelines for diagnosing and treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.


Michael Reiff
, Professor and pediatric neuroscientist at the University of Minnesota. He was a member of the committee that issued the new guidelines for diagnosing and treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Joan Luby, Professor of Psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine, where she is Director of the Early Emotional Development Program.

Dimitri Christakis, Professor of Pediatrics at the Center for Child Health, Behavior, and Development at the University of Washington.

From Tom’s Reading List

Time “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released new guidelines for diagnosing and treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in preschoolers as young as 4. Previous guidelines, issued in 2000 and 2001, focused on children aged 6 to 12, but the new recommendations expand the targeted age group to 4 to 18 to include both preschoolers and older teens.”

Boston Globe “New guidelines for diagnosing and treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder could lead pediatricians to diagnose the condition in kids as young as four and to continue treating teens through high school on stimulant drugs like Ritalin and Adderall. The recommendations, released today at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting in Boston, state that primary care physicians should do a diagnostic workup and initiate treatment for ADHD for any child aged 4 through 18 who has academic or behavioral problems and has trouble with inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity.”

The Washington Post “For decades, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder has sparked debate. Is it a biological illness, the dangerous legacy of genes or environmental toxins, or a mere alibi for bratty kids, incompetent parents and a fraying social fabric?”

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