Originally published on Savvy Auntie.
HealthDay News reports that 1 in 11 school-aged children are diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to one expert, up to 40% of these children may display symptoms as early as preschool. Now, ADHD has been recognized as the most common mental health disorder diagnosed in the preschool years.
Dr. Mark Mahone, director of the department of neuropsychology at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, advises that since ADHD has such a profound effect on learning and academic development, it is important to recognize and treat the disorder early on: “Children whose symptoms begin in early childhood are at the highest risk for academic failure and grade repetition.”
Another HealthDay News report affirms Mahone’s statement and suggests that early ADHD treatment may ward off educational problems in children. Kids who receive early treatment for ADHD don’t struggle as much on national standardized tests as those who don’t receive medication, such as Vyvanse, Ritalin, or Concerta, until they reach the ages of 11 or 12.
Aunties with nieces and nephews of preschool age should pay close attention to their behavior and consider speaking to their parents about seeking medical advice should the following symptoms manifest:
-Avoids or dislikes activities that require more than one to two minutes of concentration
-Loses interest in activities after a few minutes
-Talks a lot more and makes more noise than other children the same age
-Climbs on things despite being told not to
-Unable to hop on one foot by the age of 4
-Almost always restless and insists on getting up after being seated for only a few minutes
-Acts fearless, which results in dangerous situations
-Warms up to strangers too quickly
-Behaves aggressively with friends
-Has been injured after moving too fast or running after being told to slow down
Know that parents don’t want to hear negative things about their children, even if it might help their well-being. After all, many young children climb on things after being to not to or warm up to strangers. So take heed, and look for multiple symptoms before speaking with a parent. But if you continue to be concerned, share the study with their mom or dad. Sometimes, it’s best coming from a third party.
If parents agree that their child may have ADHD, Mahone suggests consulting with the family’s pediatrician or another developmental expert: “There are safe and effective treatments that can help manage symptoms, increase coping skills and change negative behaviors to improve academic and social success.”
Through the use of neuroimaging, Mahone and his colleagues have recently found that children with ADHD have a smaller caudate nucleus – a small structure in the brain that is associated with thinking and motor control – than other children of the same age group. He and fellow researchers at Kennedy Krieger are among the first to use the process of neuroimaging to study the brains of preschoolers exhibiting symptoms of ADHD.
Photo: Worakit Sirijinda