How Controversial AAP Guidelines on ADHD Diagnosis Proved its Critics Worng

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Kids in schools and pre-schools need to be extremely agile and transition from one activity to another.

ADHD Diagnosis

However, this doesn’t seem to be so easy when the child in question is diagnosed with autism or ADHD, and sometimes parents may wonder if the activity level of their little 4 year old is enough or not.

Practitioners tend to resort to ADHD medications for children even for children who have been diagnosed at early in their lives. It raises many questions and concerns among parents and teachers about the children undergoing medication to behave like children.

In early 2011, when American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) included toddlers in its guidelines for diagnosing ADHD and treating the same, the move was largely criticized and some media houses castigated the idea of including school going children.

The media houses questioned the idea to medicate toddlers as well as wondered if ADHD diagnoses would surge once experts started including the youngsters.

READ: Diagnosis for Dollars – ADHD

However, observing minute behavioral traits in your child could help detect ADHD symptoms at a young age and it also helps children who struggle socially and academically.

It should be noted that the guidelines recommend behavioral therapy to the young kids and not any drugs to treat the disorders if any.

A recent study that was carried out notes that guidelines were published in Paediatrics Journal on how to manage ADHD, covered preschoolers even before the year 2011.

However, the guidelines didn’t seem to have a direct impact on the increased rate of diagnosis, neither was it the cause of increase in script medicines. Interestingly the diagnosis, which was seen to be on the rise, in reality, leveled off.

Dr. Mark Wolraich recalled the instance when the guidelines were released, and quoted,

We got criticized in the popular press that we were now drugging children.

Dr. Wolraich is the Section Chief of Developmental Behavioral Paediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and he is also attributed to be the first author for 2011 guidelines.

The doctor further insisted that before the guidelines were introduced, preschool children who were diagnosed were treated with medication for their short ADHD attention spans and their activity levels were monitored.

attention span in ADHDThe guidelines acted as a medium of communication and recommended a behavioral therapy course rather than administering drugs to young preschooling kids.

A new study is being carried out in which researchers are looking at E-health records of the children from as many as 63 different paediatric practices.

Interestingly, before the guidelines were introduced ADHD diagnosis was seen to be increasing steadily in school going children

said Dr Alexander G. Fiks, a paediatrician who is a faculty member at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the lead author of the study.

It must be noted that after the guidelines were introduced, researchers were successfully able to stem the growth rate of diagnosis, while prescriptions for stimulant medications stayed the same.

These reports suggest that paediatricians have not lowered their thresholds for medicating young children.

There was no difference seen for stimulant medication prescribing before and after; it was absolutely flat

,said Fiks, director of the Paediatric Research in Office Settings Network at the American Academy of Paediatrics, which coordinated the study.

Thus careful observations help to detect early signs and also assists in early diagnosis which is crucial for leading a stress less life.

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