Behavioral Therapy for Preschoolers with ADHD: First Line of Treatment

The average young child often is full of energy and has trouble sustaining attention for extended periods of time. However, for some children, challenges with overactivity, inattention, and impulsivity significantly interfere with their ability to safely and fully engage in developmentally appropriate activities. While preschool is a period of a notable growth, change, and development, it is not too early to identify and diagnose Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.  With advances in our understanding of the mental health of young children, important questions follow regarding the most appropriate treatment recommendations for this age group.

In a recent U.S. News and & World Report article, Kimberly Leonard highlighted updated recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding treatment for preschoolers diagnosed with ADHD. Despite the majority of these children being prescribed psychotropic medication, the CDC urges physicians to refer children first to behavioral therapy before moving forward with medication. Importantly, some young children with severe deficits in attention and impulse control benefit from both behavioral therapy and medication. However, given the side effects associated with ADHD medications and the unknown long-term impacts on children who starting taking these medications from an early age, experts are recommending behavioral interventions be attempted first.

At our office we provide behavioral therapy for children of all ages. When working with young children, treatment typically focuses primarily on the parents. Time is spent discussing and practicing strategies toward promoting child-appropriate behavior, improving children’s independent play, and decreasing non-compliant and/or oppositional behavior. If you are interested in learning more about our behavioral therapy services, please contact us.