"Since preschool is an optimal time for social, emotional, and academic learning, early intervention is key." - jennifer jackson-rice
Preschoolers and ADHD
According to 2016 National Survey on Children’s Health, approximately 388,000 preschool age children (2-5 years old) have a current ADHD diagnosis. ADHD in preschool age children can create confusion for parents, as preschoolers are already learning things like paying attention, taking turns, sharing and following directions as part of their normal developmental progression.
However, preschoolers with ADHD are more likely to have greater problems with distractibility, hyperactivity and impulsivity than other children their age. They will often display behaviors such as hitting, biting, taking toys from friends, running from caregivers, tantrums, sleep difficulties and/or refusal to follow directions. Most parents are receiving frequent correspondence from their child’s teacher of behavioral incidents occurring in the classroom, sometimes even leading to children being kicked out of preschool. In addition, parents commonly report not taking their child in public or to social events out of fear they will act out.
Since preschool is an optimal time for social, emotional and academic learning, early intervention is key.
Early intervention focuses on shifting problematic behaviors and improving relationships. The AAP recommends behavioral therapy for preschoolers as the first line of treatment. Behavioral treatment provides parents with education on child development, ADHD signs and symptoms, and techniques to manage difficult behaviors and improve relationships. Behavioral treatment can successfully improve functioning at home and in school.
In 2010, The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality reviewed studies on treatment options for ADHD in preschool children and found enough evidence to recommend parent training in behavior therapy as the first line of treatment. AHRQ identified four programs for parents of young children that reduced symptoms and problem behaviors related to ADHD:
Where do I start?
Resolve Counseling focuses on the treatment of ADHD in young children by offering Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT).
PCIT is an evidence based, short-term, specialized behavior management program designed for children experiencing behavioral and/or emotional difficulties. PCIT is an exceptionally effective treatment back by over 40 years of research.
Through PCIT, parents learn strategies to increase consistency and gain confidence in dealing with behavioral struggles associated with ADHD. This treatment focuses on traditional behavioral management skills to decrease attention seeking behaviors through the use of positive reinforcement strategies. Live coaching is a hallmark of PCIT. The therapist observes the parent and child interactions through play, then provides coaching on the PCIT skills through a “bug-in-the-ear” system. The advantage of live coaching are skills are acquired more rapidly by parents, as they practice in the moment. Therapists provide caring support as parents gain confidence and master skills. Parents receive immediate feedback about strategies to manage the child’s challenging behaviors.
For more information, check out the Parent Child Interaction Therapy page or call 913.735.0577.
Jennifer Jackson-Rice, LSCSW