ADHD in the Preschool Setting: Interview with Dr. Sara J Dorison Part 2

by Carla on February 3, 2010

Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a group of disorders that include inattentiveness, over-activity, and/or impulsivity. Daycare providers must recognize the signs of symptoms of ADHD as well as how to manage children diagnosed with the disorder.

Part 2 of our interview with child neurologist Dr. Sara J. Dorison details the important aspects of managing ADHD in the preschool setting.

OwnADaycare: What are the symptoms of ADHD in preschool children?

Dr. Dorison: Preschool children with ADHD often have difficulty sitting still during story reading (“happy circle”), finishing little projects and waiting their turns.  Often they have low frustration tolerance which can lead to impulsive aggression.  For example, an ADHD child is more likely to push another child when that child grabs for a toy.   Due to impulsivity, many children with ADHD have a hard time following the rules.   Often it is hard for the ADHD child to “keep his hands to himself” since impulsivity is such a prominent feature.   Transitions such as going from the playground to the classroom can be difficult for them and they have a great deal of difficulty waiting quietly.   They might have difficulty learning their letters since paying attention in class is hard for them.   Low frustration tolerance can lead to tantrums.

OwnADaycare: What can parents or early childhood educators do if they suspect children are exhibiting ADHD behaviors?

Dr. Dorison: Parents must educate themselves and seek professional advice.  Reading about ADHD is very helpful so that parents can see whether their child indeed meets the typical profile of an ADHD child.  Pediatricians are generally able to guide parents in the right direction which is often towards a psychologist, child neurologist or child psychiatrist.  In general, a preschool child with ADHD does not need medication.  They can be helped significantly with behavioral management techniques that stress consistency, positive reinforcement and encouragement.  They must be given adequate exercise and reasonable expectations should be set.  An ADHD child might not be able to sit quietly so teachers and parents must tolerate a degree of fidgetiness. A preschool child that suffers severe ADHD where the impulsivity is dangerous (running in parking lots, running across the street, climbing onto the cooktop, jumping from high places) or where aggression is a prominent feature (hitting other children),might need medication.

Parents must be careful when consulting professionals to seek those who know about ADHD.  Many young children with ADHD are incorrectly diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Bipolar Disorder.  Incorrect diagnosis can lead to damaging labeling of children and inappropriate use of medication.

About Carla

Carla Snuggs has written 88 post in this blog.

Carla is a freelance writer from Southern California. She has a B.A. in early childhood education and a Master of Library and Information Science degree specializing in public librarianship and youth services.

No related posts.

Leave a Comment

More Daycare Resources

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: