The American Academy of Pediatrics has broadened its guidelines for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, expanding the age range for diagnosis and treatment to ages 4 through 18.
While the previous guidelines, from 2000 and 2001, targeted children ages 6 to 12, the new report covers children from preschool to the end of high school. This is based on recent evidence that supports including preschool children and adolescents in ADHD diagnosis and treatment management.
"The primary care clinician should initiate an evaluation for ADHD for any child 4 though 18 years of age who presents with academic or behavioral problems and symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity," the report said.
Children as young as 4 are already receiving diagnoses of ADHD, but with this report the American Academy of Pediatrics codifies how to approach preschoolers with these symptoms, said Dr. Jonathan Posner, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical School.
Diagnoses of ADHD are on the rise, with 9% of children having it in 2007-2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's an increase from previous estimate of 7%.