Fair   56.0F  |  Forecast »

New Guidelines for ADHD in Kids

They now cover a wider span of ages. Get insight on the updates, signs parents and doctors should look for, and recommendations for treatment.

For the first time in a decade, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has revised the guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The new guidelines encourage pediatricians to consider a diagnosis of ADHD in children ages 4 to 18 who have symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and being impulsive along with behavior problems or difficulty in school. The former guidelines only addressed children ages 6 to 12.

Expanded ages fit evidence

"We shouldn't be shocked," says David R. Rosenberg, MD, chief of psychiatry at Children's Hospital of Michigan. "This condition can arise early."

Rosenberg notes that there have been improvements in detecting ADHD. "It's not uncommon for parents to tell me that their child had symptoms for some time," he adds.

Generally, a diagnosis of ADHD is made when the child enters school. Rosenberg is supportive of the new guidelines, because "The earlier a correct diagnosis is made, the better the outcome." He adds that ADHD can be very disruptive to children and families.

Clues to watch for

Some clues that might suggest further evaluation is needed, according to Rosenberg, include: not being able to sit still for dinner, inability to settle down at night for bedtime, impulsive actions such as running into the street, and having "ants in their pants 24/7."

Treatment options

Rosenberg, who has written two textbooks about pediatric medications, cautions that drugs should not be used immediately in children under 6 years old. "Do we want to leap in? Absolutely not!" he says. "You need to explore all the options."

Rosenberg and the AAP recommend that parents try behavior modification techniques, family therapy and working with the school to help improve behavior before beginning any medications.

Drugs used for ADHD in older children, such as Ritalin, are safe for use in children as young as 3, Rosenberg adds. "There are good, controlled studies with medications and children 3 to 5 years old," he says.

Diagnosis is key

As with all conditions, an accurate diagnosis is important. The AAP recommends that doctors also consider other conditions that may be present with ADHD, such as emotional disorders, learning difficulties or sleep problems.

Not getting enough sleep may cause children to exhibit symptoms similar to ADHD. "If there is no ADHD, a good night's sleep causes the symptoms to evaporate," Rosenberg says. He also pointed out that lack of sleep does not cause ADHD.

Parents who have concerns about their children and possible ADHD should be seen by someone familiar with ADHD, Rosenberg adds: "Not necessarily a psychiatrist, but an experienced pediatrician."

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Passport Rules for Kids

Passport Rules for Kids

If you're planning on traveling with your family outside of the country, they'll need a passport. Find out what you need and how to get passports for children.

Tips for Saving Cash on Flights

Tips for Saving Cash on Flights

Find out how your family can save money when flying abroad and in the country.

Tips for Traveling Internationally with Your Children

Tips for Traveling Internationally with Your Children

Thought about taking your kids for a trip abroad? You should! Here are tips to help make your cultural excursion easier – and cheaper – than you might think.

Staying Home Alone: How to Know When Your Child is Ready

Staying Home Alone: How to Know When Your Child is Ready

Whether you just want to run an errand or need to hit the gym for a break, it could be time to let your tween stay home alone. Here are a few ways to know your kid is prepared.

Craft Roundup: Get Ready for the Beach

Craft Roundup: Get Ready for the Beach

Whether you're hitting the pool or lake, southeast Michigan is packed with watery summer fun. These projects are inspired by (and ready for) this very topic!

Social Savvy: Raising Kids Who Can Make Connections

Social Savvy: Raising Kids Who Can Make Connections

At each stage of development, there are things parents can do for their kids to help them with social skills and making friendships.

Explore the Grand Canyon in Arizona

Explore the Grand Canyon in Arizona

If you haven't seen the wonder that is the Grand Canyon, you owe it to yourself and your kids to go.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement