Millions of children have an ADHD diagnosis. This neurodevelopmental disorder tends to manifest when children are between the ages of three and six. Some typical childhood behaviors, such as difficulty sitting still and staying focused, are similar to ADHD symptoms. Because of this, recognizing ADHD in your own child isn’t a simple task.
The most common age for a diagnosis is seven. While it’s possible to diagnose a toddler with ADHD, it’s more complicated than diagnosing an older child. As children age, their ADHD symptoms become more apparent. It becomes difficult for them to handle their regular day-to-day responsibilities — chores, homework, hygiene — compared to their peers.
When trying to determine if your child has ADHD, speak with his or her teachers. Even if your child is in preschool, the educator should notice certain difficulties. Does your child have more issues than the typical child in the classroom? Is your child disruptive? Does he or she fidget more or become distracted more easily than his or her peers? These are all indicators that you should speak with a healthcare professional about possible ADHD.
The earlier your child receives a diagnosis, the easier it will be to manage. Children who are diagnosed later in life suffer from more depression, anxiety, and substance abuse issues than those who are diagnosed at a young age. They also tend to do worse in academic environments. Their interpersonal skills suffer.
Boys are diagnosed with ADHD more often than girls. However, many studies suggest that girls are underdiagnosed. They tend to have inattentive ADHD while boys are more likely to have hyperactive symptoms. These ADHD symptoms are harder to track. They include being easily distracted, being forgetful, seeming uninterested, and procrastinating. They’re less disruptive in social situations so they fly under the radar. By contrast, hyperactive ADHD symptoms include fidgeting, being constantly in motion, being impulsive, etc. They lead to disruptive behavior, which is easier to spot.
Speaking with your children’s educators is the first step toward identifying ADHD in your child. The second step is to ask yourself this: is your child struggling? Normal childhood inattentiveness or high energy will not cause your son or daughter to struggle on a consistent basis.