There is an early diagnosis for one third of American kids with ADHD, but researchers say that few valid tests exist to support a diagnosis in children under the age of six.

Early Diagnosis for One Third of American Kids With ADHDA federal government report shows that almost a third of American children with Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder receive an early diagnosis, but it may be difficult to determine if this means that ADHD is overdiagnosed.

“Although guidelines and instrumentation for diagnosing preschool children, for example, are weaker, the condition itself is developmental and expected to exist in preschool,” said Joel Nigg,  director of the division of psychology at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.”So, many of those young diagnoses may be valid.” Nigg was not involved in the study.

Common symptoms include inattention, impuslive behavior, and hyperactitity.

Researcher Susanna Visser of the U.S. National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities conducted the study, which was published in a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on September 3.

Researchers interviewed nearly 3,000 parents of children who had been diagnosed with ADHD and 115 of children diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome. Half the children with ADHD had been diagnosed before age 7, and 31 percent were diagnosed prior to age 6.

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