how do I know if my son has ADHD or another behavioural problem?

Elizabeth - posted on 07/14/2012 ( 2 moms have responded )





I am curious as to how people know, or suspect that their child might have ADHD or some other behavioural problem. I have recently gotten a referral to a child specialist, but just wanting some input.

I have other children, and realise that excess energy and bad behaviour can be normal, but where is the starting point for unusual behaviour?

My son is 3 years and 4 months. He is smart, and can be very sweet and listens OK at times, but other times he is outright unmanageable. I have gotten to the point that we don't do certain things because we know his behaviour will ruin it. He has tantrums when he doesn't get his way (I don't indulge his every whim but that doesn't stop him from trying!) When I say tantrums, I mean full on screaming that stops everyone in the shop and makes them look. He will hurt himself sometimes if I do not hold him, he will throw himself on the floor (we have hard tile) and if he's in time out on his bed he will kick his legs over and over against the wooden rail on the side of his toddler bed (his legs are COVERED in bruises)

He doesn't always do this, but enough to make me worry. He also is a HORRIBLE sleeper, I have wondered if he has insomnia or some other sleeping problem. One night we put him to bed around 8pm and he was still awake at almost 2 in the morning. We though he may sleep late but nope! He was up around 8am! He will laugh and play in his bed, but sometimes he gets out of bed and gets into trouble. Other times he goes to sleep fairly quick but will wake up crying anywhere from 2 or 3 times up to 10 times in a night.

He used to have long naps but we have eliminated naps for some days, and other days he gets an hour to an hour and a half. Hasn't made a difference, he still has sleeping trouble.

Just wondering what signs to look for in a 3 year old for an actual problem, and not just "regular" bad behaviour.


MeMe---(Past And Present) - posted on 07/14/2012




3 years old is way to young to be diagnosed with ADHD. However, bringing him to a specialist is the first step. Just do NOT take only one diagnoses. If there is a diagnoses, please be sure to get a second and third opinion. Since at an age before age 5, it could be completely normal or something completely different than ADHD. You want to be certain before giving them medications, since they are very potent!

My daughter has severe combined ADHD. She was diagnosed at age 5 (and I got 3 diagnoses by 3 different specialists). They really should NOT be diagnosed with this until they are in school. Since, school will help tell the tale of how well they do in a structured environment.

My daughter is now almost 14 and she is doing much better. I did have to medicate her from age 5 to the age of 12.5. I no longer do but it was a very hard road of very firm discipline and extreme routine. A child with ADHD NEEDS routine and structure.

My daughter could not sit still for more than 2mins. She could not sit at her desk and she was always moving. She would speak out of turn all the time. She would miss social cues and constantly be in someones personal space. She did not throw tantrums but it also affects girls different than boys. She simply could not concentrate on anything for more than two mins. It got to the point, that she was disrupting the class so bad, that they wanted to segregate her behind a folding compartment. I declined. She talks very fast and makes some very silly comments. She has some crazy ideas and is about 2 years behind in her mental age (which I am fine with).


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Elizabeth - posted on 07/14/2012




Thanks, I do not intend to medicate. If it is ADHD or even some other behavioural disorder, I will do everything I possibly can without having to medicate him. He is not in school yet, but next year he will start 4 year old kinder (we're in Australia) Maybe there will come a time where medication is necessary, but that's not the reason I am wanting a diagnosis.

His behaviour just seems to be more "full on" than normal, and I was wondering how other parents came about a diagnosis. Certain signs or clues? A doctor making the suggestion? He is young, I agree, but even at 3 his behaviour doesn't seem exactly "normal" to me and it would be better to know earlier rather than later, so we are prepared in every way we can be when he starts school.

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