Differences in behavioral, social, and school functioning of 58 preschool-age (3 -5 years) children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and 36 normal controls were examined at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA. Parent and teacher behavior ratings showed more problem behavior and impaired social skills in ADHD children. The parents of ADHD children experienced greater stress, they were less adapted to coping, and were more likely to exhibit negative responses toward their children. ADHD children showed more negative social behavior in preschool settings, were more noncompliant, their behavior was inappropriate during task situations, and they scored significantly lower on a test of preacademic skills. [1]

COMMENT. Preacademic skills and preschool classroom behavior should be evaluated in young children with ADHD so that parent training techniques in child management may be taught and introduced early (see Ped Neur Briefs April 2001;15:28-29). Preschoolers with ADHD exhibit more than twice the level of noncompliance and five times the inappropriate behavior of control children when asked by parents to complete tasks. Parents’ coping skills are also deficient and their responses more negative. Child disruptive and negative social behavior is common during unstructured, free-play activities in preschool classrooms. ADHD children have lower scores on cognitive tests and will enter school at an academic disadvantage, unless the problem is addressed early.