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Clinician observations of preschoolers' behavior help to predict ADHD at school age
Date:10/1/2013

Don't rely on one source of information about your preschoolers' inattention or hyperactivity. Rather, consider how your child behaves at home as well as information from his or her teacher and a clinician. This advice comes from Sarah O'Neill, of The City College of New York, based on research she conducted at Queens College (CUNY), in an article published in Springer's Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. The study examines how well parent, teacher, and clinician ratings of preschoolers' behavior are able to predict severity and diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at age six.

Characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, ADHD is one of the most frequently diagnosed childhood psychiatric disorders. Although many studies focusing on school-aged children have shown that parents and teachers -- rather than clinician observations alone -- are more likely to assess ADHD accurately, scant evidence exists to support similar conclusions with preschoolers.

To fill this gap in the research, O'Neill and colleagues followed a group of 104 hyperactive and/or inattentive three- and four-year-olds for a period of two years. Both parents and teachers rated the preschoolers' behavior. In addition, clinicians, who were blind to parent and teacher reports, completed ratings of preschoolers' behavior during a psychological testing session. By the time the children reached age six, more than half (53.8 percent) had been diagnosed with ADHD. The likelihood of such a diagnosis increased when all three informants had rated the child as high on symptoms at age three or four. Furthermore, after analyzing the reports separately, the research team found that parents' reports were critical, particularly when combined with either teacher or clinician reports.

Teacher reports alone were not as useful, and the research team ascribed the relative inability of educators' report
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Contact: Joan Robinson
joan.robinson@springer.com
49-622-148-78130
Springer
Source:Eurekalert

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