One-Third of U.S. Children With ADHD Diagnosed Before Age 6

U.S. Children With ADHD
U.S. Children With ADHD

(HealthDay News) — Almost a third of U.S. children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were diagnosed before the age of 6, even though there aren't many valid tests to support diagnosis in children that young, according to a report published September 3 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Susanna Visser, DrPH, a researcher at the U.S. National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, and colleagues interviewed 2,976 parents of children ever diagnosed with ADHD and 115 parents of children diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome. About half the children with ADHD had been diagnosed before age 7, and 31% had been diagnosed before age 6.

Among the children diagnosed before age 6, a parent or other family member was the first one to become concerned about the child's attention or behavior in three of every four cases. Just over half the children with ADHD received their diagnosis from a general pediatrician or family doctor. Only a quarter of the children diagnosed before age 6 had seen a psychiatrist for their diagnosis, but children were even less likely to get their diagnosis from a psychiatrist as they grew older.

"These findings may be used to inform assessments of the alignment between clinical practice and the 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics clinical practice guidelines for ADHD," the authors write.

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