Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in pre-school children: current findings, recommended interventions and future directions

Child Care Health Dev. 2009 Nov;35(6):754-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2009.00938.x. Epub 2009 Jun 8.


This paper outlines the presentation, aetiology and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in pre-school children. A review of current parenting training interventions demonstrates that there is good evidence for their efficacy in reducing symptoms of ADHD in pre-school children, and three interventions are evaluated: The new forest parent training programme (NFPP); the triple P - positive parenting programme and the incredible years parent training programme (IY). The evaluation of the NFPP provides strong evidence demonstrating its effectiveness for pre-school children with ADHD, while the efficacy of the Triple - P and the IY programme have, to date, only been demonstrated on children with conduct problems and co-morbid ADHD. It is suggested that parent training should be the first choice treatment for pre-school children presenting signs of ADHD, and medication introduced only for those children where parent training is not effective. Few moderators of outcome have been identified for these interventions, with the exception of parental ADHD. Barriers to intervention and implementation fidelity will need to be addressed to achieve high levels of attendance, completion and efficacy. The IY programme is a good model for addressing fidelity issues and for overcoming barriers to intervention. The future directions for parent training are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / etiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Parenting*
  • Parents / education*
  • Program Evaluation*