Too often, difficult children are incorrectly labeled with ADHD. On the other hand, many children who do have ADHD remain undiagnosed. And in either case, related learning disabilities or mood problems are often missed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued guidelines to bring more clarity to this issue. The diagnosis is based on very specific symptoms, which must be present in more than one setting (including at school). Every evaluation should include a search for possible additional conditions including conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, mood disorders/depression, anxiety and learning disabilities.
I hope that these guidelines will provide a framework for improving our care for children for whom this diagnosis is even considered. Wake us up and move us forward.
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