Isn't He Too Young for ADHD? Signs in Toddlers and Preschool Kids

Is your child's hyperactivity normal — or something more? Use this checklist to decode your child's behavior and to address symptoms before they escalate. Early detection and intervention can make a world of difference.

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ADD/ADHD Signs, Symptoms in Toddlers and Young Children

At the end of each afternoon, three-year-old Alex's preschool offers a free-play period. Parents arrive during this time to watch their kids play before going home. Cathy noticed that her son ran wildly around the playground, and that he was repeatedly told by the caregiver to "stay away from the swings." Cathy focused her attention on four important questions:

* Is the behavior I observe in my child similar to that of other children he encounters?

* Is the behavior I expect of my child developmentally appropriate?

* Do I see a pattern of behavior when my child engages in various activities?

* Do I see a pattern of behavior in various settings?

Then, she noted the results:

* The other children settle down after a flurry of activity. Alex continues to run, and seems to get further out of control over time.

* All the children are about the same age. When I asked the caregiver about his behavior, she implied that Alex behaves like a younger child on the playground.

* During free play, Alex appears excited but highly agitated. He doesn't play with anyone. One-on-one, he can sit and be still.

* My son can be calm at home, and the caregiver says that he is calmer indoors.

Cathy concluded that her son was not ready for free play in a playground setting, with many other boys and girls. She began picking Alex up before free play and arranging one-on-one play dates for Alex at their house. By the end of the school year, Alex had made several good friends. Great detective work, Cathy!


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TAGS: Diagnosing Children with ADHD, Behavior in ADHD Kids, ADHD Symptoms, School Behavior

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