To the Editor: Halasz and Vance1 are correct to point out that there is a diversity of causes that can contribute to a child exhibiting symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as defined in the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV).2 In their article, they describe a child who meets the DSM-IV criteria for diagnosis of ADHD and in addition has been affected by environmental factors including poor bonding (due to maternal depression), domestic violence and parental separation. The child also exhibits developmental disability, as exemplified by delayed language development. The message is that, by explaining his symptoms in terms of his early experiences and his developmental disability, a diagnosis of ADHD can be excluded.
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