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Experts champion nonmedicinal ADHD treatment

Preschoolers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be effectively treated without medication., say experts.

A study of 135 preschool students with ADHD symptoms found that nonmedicinal interventions that reinforced positive behaviour decreased aggression by 17% and improved children's social skills by 21%.

"Medication may address the symptoms of ADHD but it does not necessarily improve children's academic and social skills," says lead researcher George DuPaul at Leigh University, USA.

"And because this is a lifelong disorder, without any cure, it's important that we start understanding what tools and strategies are effective for children with ADHD at such an early age."

Intervention techniques were highly individualised and relied on reinforcing positive behaviour. Researchers also modified the environment in the home and school to accommodate ADHAD students.

"There's simply a lack of understanding about they type of nonmedicinal services that are available to preschool children and their families," says DePaul.

"Our goal is to address behavioural issues before they become more problematic in elementary school."

Leigh University