Inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity are all
behavioral traits of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that also
are normal behaviors for preschool children. Also, everyday behavior
changes frequently in this age group, making it difficult to establish a
But very young children with ADHD generally have
behaviors that are extreme and much more exaggerated than those of other
children the same age.
Preschool children diagnosed with ADHD
are not usually treated with medicine, because they are more likely to
experience side effects. Parent training in techniques to improve a child's
behavior is usually tried first, except in extreme cases or unusual
circumstances. The Preschool ADHD Treatment Study (PATS) found
that methylphenidate (Ritalin) is safe for preschool-age children in low doses.
Preschool-age children taking stimulant medicine should be closely
Vitiello B, et al. (2007). Effectiveness of methylphenidate in the 10-month continuation phase of the preschoolers with ADHD treatment study (PATS). Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 17(5): 593–603.
February 2, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
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