• Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Preschool-Aged Children: A Critical Review

      Anastasiadis, Will
      Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by core symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). ADHD is a fairly common psychopathology diagnosed in childhood (Kooij et al., 2010; Perou et al., 2013). For instance, a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that approximately 6.1 million (9.4%) U.S. children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 17 have received an ADHD diagnosis; these prevalence estimates were acquired from a collection of 2016 parent-reported ADHD diagnoses (Danielson et al., 2018). Of those patients diagnosed with ADHD, a weighted estimate of 2.4% (388,000) were between the ages of 2 and 5 (i.e., toddlers and preschool-aged children). Although ADHD was found to be proportionally greater in older school-aged children, there is ongoing controversy surrounding the contemporary diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in preschool-aged children (e.g., Harpin, 2005; Layton, Barnett, Hicks, & Jena, 2018), generating various economic, mental and public health concerns (Zhao et al., 2019). Misdiagnosis and undertreatment of ADHD are serious burdens for young children at risk, as lack of preventive treatment may ensue long-lasting effects (Harpin, 2005; Upshur, Wenz-Gross, & Reed 2009). Regrettably, prior research also suggests that differentiating ADHD from normative behavior in preschool-aged children is challenging for clinicians (Ford-Jones, 2015). Thus, the purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive overview of recent research regarding ADHD, with a particular emphasis on the etiology and treatment of preschool-aged children. In writing this review, the author hopes to provide practitioners and clinical scientists clarity in this fairly contentious area in the ADHD literature.