What is the age to diagnose ADHD?

Alex - posted on 10/27/2010 ( 37 moms have responded )

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My son is 3 1/2 and is very VERY hyper. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 13. I had ADHD when I was younger but only diagnosed at 13. My son has a bit of an obsession with straightening things out into lines and putting stuff in order. He stutters a bit and hates being dirty. Example, he refused to put his hands in the pumpkin and when he did, he ran to the bathroom to wash them. My son can't sit still and loves to climb everything.
I am a single mother and we are home all the time. I don't know if it really is ADHD or if it's because he isn't getting the social interaction and attention from others. I need to know how to deal with him if he does have ADHD.he is also very smart. He's hitting 4-5 year old milestones already so I can tell he is going to be good in school. I just don't want his attention problem to get in the way of school. Thanks!!!!!!

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Amy - posted on 10/27/2010

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says the earliest age to diagnose ADHD is 6.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't talk to your pediatrician. There could be something else going on... aspergers, autism, sensory processing disorder...

I would never see a pediatrician that did not follow these guidelines, especially when it came to medicating my child.

That being said, other disorders use the same or similar meds, and after seeing a ped, a neurologist, and a child psychiatrist, if there was a diagnosis that indicated medication, I would consider meds at the younger age.

Good luck with this!

http://www.healthychildren.org/English/h...

Beth - posted on 11/03/2010

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Up until about age 7 , the behaviors seen in ADHD children are also normal behaviors for those ages. I would not trust a dx before that age.

Kristen - posted on 11/04/2010

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For alternative treatment you should check into the Feingold diet. It is said to work wonders with children with ADHD. Just a thought...

Debbie - posted on 11/03/2010

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I "knew" my daughter was hyper when I was pregnant! It helped that she had an older brother with ADHD so I knew the criteria. She wasn't diagnosed until she was 5 and I went to several docs before someone would listen. Then at 15 she was actually diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, and I read that many kids are misdiagnosed as ADHD when they are younger. My point is that ADHD might not be the right diagnosis but you need to treat the symptoms and condition now as it affects his learning, but ALWAYS be looking to see if related conditions present themselves later. It's in his best interest and yours. Good luck!

Tammy - posted on 11/01/2010

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Oops forgot to mention....I know every state and area has there own way to do developmental screening but in the state of Minnesota they have early childhood programs that are there for families and children under the age of 5 and they would get you in touch with school district personnel who could do a developmental eval and school readiness eval and then if you ask they could send out an assessment on behavior that you would fill out for him and any other close adults that your son has contact with. Kids can be diagnosed earlier than the medical guidelines indicate it just takes getting a thorough evaluation done both through the pediatrician and through your local school district. They are there to help and they usually want to address the problem before it becomes a problem for your son.

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Rae - posted on 01/25/2011

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Since my son was 3yrs he has had an unoffical diagnosis of ADHD, he will be 5 in March and just about to start meds but it was only because of his self harm and risky behaviour that I and the peaditrician have said that he will trial Ritalin earlier. I want to wait till he was at school before having to make a choice of medicating or not.

Kacie - posted on 01/25/2011

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I learned from an ADHD specialist that the US has guidelines that does not allow them to clinically diagnose ADHD until the age of 5 (you may get an unofficial diagnosis from someone who specializes in it before then but they will not write it or perscribe the meds until they hit 5)

Lisa - posted on 11/10/2010

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There is a strong genetic link. He is more likely to have it if one of his parents does.

Liesha - posted on 11/10/2010

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My son exhibited some of those same symptoms with the organizing, overly sensitive to lights, sound and touch. He was hyper and very dramatic about everything. I knew when he was in kindergarten something was wrong, but I had just finished a difficult pregnancy with twins and felt that some of it may be related. We had him tested 3 different times for learning disabilities before he finally was officially diagnosed. His diagnosis was ADHD with Autistic tendencies and processing delays. I was told when he was first tested that he was bad, but not bad enough and he would get worse. It was a frustrating process and I wish I had gone about it differently. I would definitely start seeking some help, because many times kids with your sons symptoms end up having aspergers, autism and other disorders that are also treated with these same medications. Good luck and if your gut says something is wrong, don't stop until you find help!

Jae - posted on 11/10/2010

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My daughter started showing signs at about 2 but wasnt diagnosed until 6 because everyone told me I was just being paranoid. You are his mother and you know if something is not right. As for the straigtening things and not getting dirty, my daughter is the same way but for her that is because she is mildly autistic and has to live her life by order and patterns. I would defineately have him seen by a psycologist or neurologist, just to be on the safe side.

Sara - posted on 11/10/2010

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My daughter started showing signs at 2 but most doctors refused to diagnose her till she was 5...she ended up being diagnosed at 5 and a half..

Heather - posted on 11/08/2010

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You will need to wait until your son starts school. My son was very hyper at the age of 2 so we cut back on sugar. Then when he was 5 I found out he has intolerances to food coloring and then recently MSG. However, when he was 5 and in KG we had him formally assessed for ADHD. They need to look at three areas - home, school and community to be able to officially make a diagnosis. Also, remember kids who are very intelligent will sometimes look like ADHD when they are really just bored - try stimulating him and challenging him with more advanced activities as you may be pleasantly surprised. Good luck!

Erin - posted on 11/07/2010

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I live in Nova Scotia and they will not test any child till age 6 unless they are younger and are at "sever" threat to harm themselves or others!

Kristen - posted on 11/07/2010

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My son started showing signs from birth! He was a very cranky baby and even as an infant he was always kicking his legs and moving a lot. He was officially diagnosed in 3rd grade (about 8 yrs.). Things have gotten so much better since he has been put on med's and also just matured a little. He is now 11 and even in advanced classes at school.

Eugenia - posted on 11/06/2010

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My middle daughter was diagnosed at 2.5 yr old with adhd and I finally put her on med when she was 4yr old in her second yr in headstart and she did sooo much better she not getting into trouble she getts all her homework done now in 2nd grade all her teachers love her ..she is above her grade level..now my 6yr old has sensory problems and ocd were she dont like the way things feel on her and she freaks out if you touch her stuff ..so now she goes to op therapy and counseling.

Chris - posted on 11/06/2010

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My son was 3 1/2 when he was diagnosed with ADHD. He had trouble in elementary school, they made accommodations. The sooner you get a diagnosis the better school will be for him and you. I hope this helped.

Angela - posted on 11/05/2010

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I have custody of my granddaughters, ages 12, 5, 3. When the 5 year old was in pre k, she tested very high on her assessment test, but also test very high, on disruptive behavior. After speaking with her peditrician, she was surveyed, i guess you would say. A form had to be filled out by myself, her teacher, and the director, then she was diagnosed witha mild case of ADHD. Her peditrician does not believe in mediciations unless it is necessary, and he put her on a small dose of focalin, and her behavior is amazingly better. She was very much like your son. My suggestion would be to put your son in pre k and see if the socialization helps with his behavior, and then if it doesn't speak to your peditrician about his behavior.

Barbara - posted on 11/05/2010

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You need to talk to your doc and school system. In most states the schools are required to atleast test. We pushed hard with our ped--the school had tested him and he was 5 1/2 starting kindergarten--we did not want him to start kindergarten without the meds. He is now in 2nd grade, still has some scensory challenges-( wants to hold and touch stuff) but does not have any problems in school---gets good grades---get tested

Kelly - posted on 11/04/2010

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my son was diagnosed with pre-adhd and pre-odd at 3 yrs old. got offical dx at 4 yrs old. he is 6 yrs old now and has severe ADHD combined type and ODD. he takes two different meds and they do control his impulsives very well. we are working with a TSS and BSC who is implementing a sensory diet for him becuase he is displaying sensory issues. diffently go see a child pyschologist,. I am sure your local childrens hosptial has a CDU (Child developement unit) where they could test him all disorders and see if he has any. We got our child dxed at our local children hospital CDU. Look for a psychologist or psychiatrist who specializes in children good luck

Erin - posted on 11/04/2010

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The age is 6yrs. to test for ADHD, that is when my son was tested. By this age a child is already in school and can do most or all of the tests and starts to understand things! The child is not fully developed in his learning at the critical stages till age 6 and up! A requirement for getting tested is to have a form filled out by yourself and from the Teacher in order to determin similarites and if he has it ,to be further tested. Yes it is very hard, I thought before my son was tested(who is now 11yrs. old) I would end up in the mental ward because he was very hard to handel! does your son have a lot of tanturms that take him more than 30mins. to calm down; is he violent and trashes thing like his bedrom? Is he unable to play quietly and very impatient and has none or few frieds? Does he play one activity for short periods then go to another and another? Is he easily upset, frustrated and changes moods quickly? Is he aggressive and destructive when upset? Does he have excessive motor activity and can not sit still and squirms and is aways running and climbing? This is just some of the things to ask yourself if he does which leads to ADHD. I am an Early Childhood Educator and work in a Daycare and these are the things I have studied about ADHD; the rest can't be answered till he is older! Hope this helps!!

Michelle - posted on 11/03/2010

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I would definitely try to get him diagnosed before he gets to school. My son's preschool teacher suspected he was ADHD at 3 but the problem in our town was the drs kept trying to tell me they couldn't diagnose him until he was at least 7 but we luckily had a mental health center in our area for kids and were able to get him diagnosed before he was 7(he's 6 now and was on meds when he was 5). My issue was because of him being officially diagnosed when he was halfway through kindergarten he ended up behind and had to go to summer school to catch up. It also sounds like your son may be OCD as well. Hopefully you can get the help you need just don't give up and keep trying no matter what.

Marie - posted on 11/03/2010

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My daughter just turned 4 in July, she is hyperactive, and just recently, she is starting to act up more than usual in public. Maybe it's the sugar, I usually don't let her eat it because of the sugar crash, but I have given her some recently, BIG mistake.

Jamie - posted on 11/03/2010

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I also live in Minnesota and we are taking my son in for his Early Childhood Screening next week because he seems delayed in his speech. You are required to get at least ONE Early Childhood Screening before they start Kindergarten but if you see concerns they encourage doing it early on so if intervention is needed we can catch it early and start services to help the child be ready in time to start kindergarten. Not sure what other states offer/require...We will see if they say anything about his hyperactivity or attention at the screening. It will be interesting to find out!

Jamie - posted on 11/03/2010

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They won't even consider testing him til he gets to Kindergarten. I also have a 3 1/2 yr old boy who I am watching for ADHD because I have ADD. I just got diagnosed a couple of years ago and I just turned 30 a few months ago. They say that the symptoms of ADHD are still developmentally appropriate for children under 5 yrs old so they need to wait til then to see if they grow out of it. If they don't grown out of it by 5 then they might consider testing him. My son also is VERY busy and we have been told by an Occupational Therapist that he has some "Sensory" thing and needs to move more than the average child. That was at age 18-24 months old already! He also hates getting messy and he is a challenge to bring ANYWHERE so we get a babysitter often! As for his school...that is something you and his Dr can discuss when you cross that bridge down the road! If caught early you should be able to compensate and begin teaching him the skills he will need to be just as successful in school as any other child! ADHD is a challenge but it is manageable. For ex. if he is as smart as you say he might find himself bored in class because he already knows the material being taught and might act out of boredom. Maybe just challenging him with a little harder classwork might help to keep him settled down. Just keep that in mind! Good Luck! :D Feel free to add me if you need a friend to chat with about this once in a while!

Diana - posted on 11/03/2010

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Their is a testing but I think the kid has to be like 6 years or older. Check with your family Dr. for the child. They would be able to direct you more on that. Good Luck.

Marie - posted on 11/03/2010

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My daughter has the same symptoms, I would like to know also if it is ADHD, let me know what u find out, thanks.

Valerie - posted on 11/03/2010

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My daughters were "targeted" in Kindergarten as "possible ADHD/ADD" by the schools, the pediatrician and I had always seen the symptoms from early on.. but we didn't pursue medical intervention/meds until they were about 8, almost 9 I think?? (end of 3rd grade.) We did behavior modifications and school modifications for as long as possible until I had no other choice due to student/teacher ratio's change here in California in the 4th grade and I couldn't get the help I needed from the school at that point... Good luck!

Susan - posted on 11/03/2010

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I was also going to agree with another person on here and talk to your pediatrician and tell them your concerns....My son is on Vyvanse a 12 hour release medicine and it is the best thing we ever did for my son. His first grade year was horrible and things are 100% better.....

Susan - posted on 11/03/2010

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Well my son was that way as a young child but usually ADD or ADHD is not really noticed until about 1st grade. My son has ADD and he was diagnosed in his first grade year.

Dorthe - posted on 11/03/2010

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my son was diagnosed at the age of 3 and is considered to have the severe form of adhd. He has an emotional dysfunction as well. I wonder if your son might have a hint of ocd (the hand washing, the big sense of tidyness etc. - I know ocd is a normal additional diagnosis to adhd)

my son is also hyper, easy to distract and very bright/clever



Edit: I'm from Denmark/Europe and here we do not have an "age limit" as to when you can have the diagnosis

Tammy - posted on 11/01/2010

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I got my son diagnosed at 3 because it caused such a problem that it didn't allow him to reach those milestones that your child has already hit. Once he was diagnosed with ADHD and was properly taken care of he has soared and is doing well with medical direction. He has hasn't needed the extra support at school other than just a persistent mom always there pushing him. ADHD is a life long problem that really truly never goes away. It still affects adult and beyond just in ways that are different than kids. You should discuss with a pediatrician your concerns and look into all the possibilities. You obviously think something is out there and a problem so follow through as you are his biggest advocate.

Dee - posted on 10/27/2010

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Alex,
My son was the same way...very hyper and very active. He just got diagnosed about a month ago with ADHD, but I knew long before then that he had it because I also have it. Unfortunately Pediatricians can't diagnose it until the age of 6.
I used to let the OCD thing go and not force him to stop whatever it was he was doing early. The other thing I learned was that discipline was necessary when his behaviors got too out of control. Just making him stop to sit for 3 or 4 minutes was enough to let him know that its not okay to climb over everything. If your son is in pre-school or day care for most of the day, ask your Pediatrician for a Vanderbilt Assessment to give to his provider/teacher. This will start the process of the diagnosis. Even if they can't diagnose until 6, it will be recorded in his medical file for easier diagnosis later.
I hope this helps! Good Luck!

[deleted account]

My daughter started around the age of 5 with her squriming and so forth. However she is very bright they skipped her a grade bc she was advanced..... But last Friday she was offically diagnosed with ADHD and they have her on Intuniv.

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