Preschoolers on ADHD Medication


"My four-year-old son has been diagnosed with ADHD by two pediatric neurologists and one child psychologist. All three have suggested Ritalin. What do you think of putting a preschooler on medication?"

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

You ask a very good question. There is no easy answer.

My general rule is that if the behaviors — the hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsivity — significantly interfere with your child's life, he should be on medication. That is, does his ADHD prevent him from succeeding in a preschool program? Play dates? Within the family? If the answer is yes, then for his sake he should be on medication.

With medication he can be successful and this success will promote improved social and emotional development.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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