how can i tell if my son has got adhd or if he's just very energetic, help

Laura - posted on 01/19/2010 ( 233 moms have responded )

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my 2 n 1/2 year old son, aidan, cant sit still 4 two minutes, he is always on the go, i cant take him 2 a story group, because he wont sit and listen, he mite dance to music for 20 mins, or spend 10/15mins painting, but then he decides he's bored, is he just being a normal 2 year old and is very energetic, help xx

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Angela - posted on 02/21/2010

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I just had a guest speaker come to our circle of parents support group on the topic of childrens mental health. One thing was clear alot of people had questions about adhd, this is what I'd suggest to you. Read as much as you can about child development,then go back & ask yourself the same questions that lead you to intertain the idea that he had adhd. I think you will finde that he is right on target for normal development. We as adults seem to forget what is a reasonable time to spend on 1 thing w/ young children. Enjoy your parenting experience:)

Stef - posted on 02/21/2010

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Are you kidding??? I don't know a 2-3 yr old on the planet who can sit still or concentrate for any length of time! There's a huge world full of stuff to discover, why would a toddler want to sit still??? ADHD is used too often to diagnose an energetic child...let it go and let your kid be a kid!

[deleted account]

As everyone has said, Aidan is probably a healthy, energetic todder. He sounds perfectly normal to me - they can't sray still for five minutes at a time at that age!



But Laura, you're obviously really worried about this, so I would get him checked out. I'm not sure if they can tell this early, but for your own peace of mind have a word with your doctor.

Jennifer - posted on 02/20/2010

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To me he sounds like the average toddler. 15 mins at one thing is a long time for a toddler. They are more intrested at exploring their world than sitting down and doing a single thing. You should be proud that he sits for even 15 mins.

Emma - posted on 02/19/2010

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sounds like a normal 2 year old to me my 4 year old is adhd / bipolar and its something that i just knew he had he was too hyper active even for his age he had so much energy he could go days without sleep . its not something u should worry bout till he starts gettin kicked out of daycare

Jacci - posted on 02/18/2010

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I agree with the moms below, at that age it's way to early to tell. Their little brains are absorbing everything at that time and they are constantly on the go that's how they learn. Maybe try sitting him in your lap at story group or explaining before hand what and where your going and your expectations. Maybe bringing some snacks with if it's allowed. My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in 3rd grade. I had him tested independently and not through the school because I do agree with Lisa it does get handed out a little to freely for what could be just a need for a different parenting style. Good Luck!

Linda - posted on 02/18/2010

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I hesitated to reply, because I have read some but not all the answers. I too think it is too early and I too would not label. We had 6 children and all very active but only one

that really had this problem. None of them liked to set still but he couldn't, I remember

one time him looking up at me in Church and saying Mommy help me be good, because he constantly moved. Channel that energy to things he likes like sports,

dancing - swing choir in the teens and football. We tried the med, but didn't want to.

because of the flustration the constant activity brings, we found only praying for

and with him helped. He is a very smart capable man of 40 who loves the Lord

and is raising a great bunch of 4 boys himself.

Olive - posted on 02/18/2010

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well if yours have it then mine does as well and so do i!! 2 and a half year old's are suppose to be like that! mine does not even watch tv, because she wants to play outside. You have a 2 year old, think of a 100 things to do with him....his just being a toddler! good luck xx

Jerris - posted on 02/16/2010

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Every child is different. My son wouldn't sit still to let me read him a bedtime story until he was 4 years old. Experts say to still read and do learning games because they are listening. My son is now in his 20 and a honor student at law school. My daughter, however, would let me read her several stories when she was 3. I wouldn't label him with adhd too soon. Most 2 and 3 year old are very energetic. If you're really worried you can have him tested but do it before he turns 3 to get the benefit of certain programs available. We were worried about my grandson and had him tested and it turned out he had autistic tendencies. He's not autistic but he did qualify for some State programs that have helped considerably. He was tested at 2 1/2 and we found out that if we had waited until he was 3 or older he wouldn't have qualified. It's for several different programs, not just autism so adhd may be one.

Tam - posted on 02/16/2010

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I think he is just hyper or he would not be able to sit to even paint or focus long enough to dance. I have worked with a lot of adhd kids and they cant focus for 2 minutes. Ithink he is normal just choosing to do what he likes, if you are really worried have him tested when he is older. I was a hyper kid but i didnt have adhd. I did what interested me, and if it bored me i moved on ..

Laura - posted on 02/15/2010

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It's not necessarily ADHD. There are alot of things that could make a child very enegergetic. He could be hyperactive without being ADHD. He could just be full of beans. ADHD tends to be overdiagnosed. Autism and aspergers are often misdiagnosed as ADHD. He just sounds like a busy boy. I wouldn't worry unless he was also destructive or violent or having other behavioural difficulties.

Angela - posted on 02/15/2010

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At about the same age I started to wonder the same thing. My son is now in kindergarten and I am happy to report he is just very impulsive and energetic. I monitored him for years letting doctors and teacher know what I was doing. It wasn't until a few months ago I spoke to his guidence counselor with whom I discussed my sons behavior. He thought I took a great approach and was impressed I didn't want to medicate my child.So he paid extra attention as well. My son is very active.His metabolism is high. He is very very easily distracted...but he learns and loves to learn. If it intrests him it occupies him for hours.The key was to focus on his imagination. Believe me he has a brillant imagination. It let him express himself and do different activities at the same time. His favorite toys at that age were little people. He had an entire community. He is now one of the brightest kids in his class. He loves to "mother" the other kids.I need to remind myself and everyone around me...he is the youngest in his class (turned 5yrs. days before deadline) . Anything he may be having an issue with is simply maturity and not ADHD.

Angie - posted on 02/15/2010

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that is very normal for children that age. It is nothing wrong with Aidan. Make sure to keep sugar and sugar products out of his diet and this causes him not to be able to think and concentrate. Also, sometimes children have mild allergies to certain things that can make them to not be able to concentrate, but at this age, it is very normal. Keep them stimulated with mental activities like learning and have several small projects to do that are very simple, like building blocks, flash cards, music time, coloring and Bible time. Pray for peace and everything will be fine.

Ashley - posted on 02/15/2010

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My son is 18 months and does the same thing. However we have taught him to clean up and put his toys away. We have taught him some structure. I think its normal for this age. From what I have researched you wont be able to know if your child is ADD or ADHD until they are 4 or sometimes older. My son is always on the go. He barley will sit down to eat. He is just what the doctor called high energy when I asked if he was ADD or not. Both my fiance and I were ADHD which theres a good chance he could be. However if you try to compare kids to one another, you will find that each are different in the areas of learning. Just take a deep breath and realize that its just boy. Some kids respond and like different things. It may just be not his thing.

Christine - posted on 02/15/2010

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he is just being a normal boy lol i thought that about my boys i have 3 and then i had my daughter that has adhd and omg BIG difference between the boys and adhd so yes be happy you have a NORMAL two and a half year old boy(-; totally normal for them not to sit still

Kandice - posted on 02/15/2010

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I went through the same thing with my son only it was like half a second of sitting. Unfortunately the doctor told me they cannot test them until the age of 8 or 9. My son is now 6 still hyper but a little more focused. A lot of has to do with the age but if your very persistant in having him checked maybe wait a few years to see how he is changing. I'm still convinced my son has ADHD

Julia - posted on 02/15/2010

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hun he is only 2 and a half, he is trying to be independent. my 2 and a galf yr old daughter is the same way. the only tv she watches is maybe a couple of dora episodes and sesame street. she is hard to keep up with as is your little one i am sure but they are still a little young to be doing long structured activities... ie story group

Susan - posted on 02/15/2010

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Take your child offf milk. Take your child off TV. Let him see slow going educational shows only. No video games. Go on walks. Don't arrgue in front of him or her. Listen to what he hears when you are talking on the phone.Take sugar out of his diet. Listen to soft music and rock your child to bed everynight. If you do this I promise you will see a huge difference.

Michelle - posted on 02/15/2010

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PPS: softplays are great for wearing them out while you sit and have a nice cup of tea!!

Michelle - posted on 02/15/2010

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Your son sounds normal to me but I thought you might find the following very interesting and helpful, (I did): There is a website, "The Action on Additives Campaign" http://www.actiononadditives.com/ which seeks the complete removal of six artificial colours from all food and from children's medicines; and further research into the use of the preservative sodium benzoate (E211). These additives are linked to increased hyperactivity in children. can cause allergic reactions and (in some cases) are banned in the USA because they are considered unsafe. I would strongly recommend you have a look: PS: be warned boys also get a testosterone increase around 4 years, it was funny my son went completely hyper just before his 4th birthday and had to jump, run, swing from everything, he wore me out just watching him!

Julie - posted on 02/15/2010

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It sounds to me like you have yourself a normal 2 year old who is very busy . My little man who's now 19 was the same I told poeple he was high spirited. He got better as he got older and turned out a nice polite young man and the best teenager you could ask for. Yes he was tested for ADHD and did'nt have it. Dont stress about it, enjoy him now because before you know it he'll be 19.

Pelin - posted on 02/15/2010

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It sounds to me that you have a perfect normal healthy 2 year old who likes action. If people makes you uncomfortable "tell them you have a active boy" and smile, and try to have contact with people who also have active kids, you feel relived your kid, too. Out of experience 15 min is not to less for 2 years old.

Try to make him play with real things, if you have a kitchen drawer with plastic cubs you can forget him for 30 min., u can take him out to play ground, build swing home?Try to have a ritual, daily plan.That would give ur mind a piece too.. Good luck :)) being active can be a sign of smart kid, too. :)

Kimberly - posted on 02/14/2010

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OK I dont intend to be mean or whatever but COME ON! OH U should have ur son checked for autism! BE REAL the kid is 2 1/2 the mother is voicing a concern on add/adhd. To throw autism in there when u have no more information than a couple of sentances What a crock! She is concerned enough and doesnt need to be thinking about something like that! Based on her few sentances the child is 2 1/2! I apologize for not being tactful but I think that is just WAY overboard.

Now is Autism more than what people know of YES! Could people stand to learn more about Autism also YES! It is a very real condition that has very large ranges. Just dont feeed a fire when it doesnt need the gas.

Kathleen - posted on 02/14/2010

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Kammi- With regard to medication: Note the words "used correctly". That would mean that the doctor is watching for side effects and correcting medications when they occur. Stimulant meds have been around for over 50 years and have been established as safe and effective **when used properly.*** There are not any medications that do not have side effects, which is why medical supervision is needed.



To the original poster- I am a psychotherapist and as such I have worked with many children with ADHD and other disorders. I can assure you that at age 2 1/2 it is far too early to make any diagnosis at all. As I said in a previous post, it's all about developmental tasks- there may be some kids in your son's preschool class that can stay on a task for long periods of time, but probably most can't at that age. There is a HUGE variation in that type of development in the preschool years.



The absolute youngest I would ever be willing to diagnose definitively ADHD would be perhaps age 4, and it would have to be extreme at that age, and incidentally, would probably be a dual diagnosis with something else. This isn't to say you don't get symptoms and signs before then, but you have to give it time because the child may just be late in developing things like impulse control.



That being said, keeping a close eye on your child's development makes sense, especially if ADHD or other neurological difficulties run in your family. Early intervention can make a big difference. And intervention does not have to be with medication- there are things you can do that involve increased structure, etc. to help the child.

Kimberly - posted on 02/14/2010

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I would say too early to say. We just in the last few months took him in to talk to the dr he is in the 1st grade. When they are young they dont have attention span it is something they learn as they mature. My son has been diagnosed ADD but he is 7 and this was not a decision we made lightly. I honestly believe that ADD and ADHD are largely used as an excuse for poor behavior which is why we waited and kept working with him at home. He had probs with making friends, reading completing tasks. within the last few months he has now improved with school in leaps and bounds. Keeping friends is easier too. Ask a lot of questions before you make that jump. Follow other recommendations posted here. More structure less tv less video games and computer if they are something they have easy access to. Give him time to grow and learn encourage him when he completes things. Good Luck!

Keta - posted on 02/14/2010

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Both of my boys have been diagnosed with adhd. My youngest is 6 and just started kindy. Your boy is waaay tooo young to think about adhd just yet. Once school time hits and there is an actual agenda the must be followed then a teacher might suggest further tests. There is NO BLOOD test or DNA test that confirms adhd!! Don't let anyone tell you there is. It is constant working with your childs teacher and your childs DR. There are also many things that you can do if you think this is the prob., changing the diet is a BIG factor. Personally I think you have a Healthy Active 2 year old. If the problem is there once school hits you will know. (the teachers will tell you) On the plus side you can be happy that you won't have one of the increasing over weight child that is happening all over the country. Go outside, play, have fun He is still GROWING!

Kammi - posted on 02/14/2010

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i have to disagree with what kathleen i myself have had to be on adderal since i was about 7 till 16 so i dont agree when she says its safe. it made me not want to eat so i wasnt growing the way i should and getting the nutriton i needed. it also made it so i couldnt get to sleep at night so then they had to put me on a sleeping pill. by the time i was sixteen i learned to control myself so that i could get off both of the pills when i did a gained 70 pounds because of the way i had to eat on the pill i wasnt use to such small amounts when i got off of it... yes i did end up losing the weight and got my eating under control but it was very hard for me and that was at the age of 16 now think of what it could do to your totally normal happy energetic son!

[deleted account]

I have 2 boys 20 months apart.... 4 and 51/2 now. They get up early and go to bed after 9. They both stopped taking daily naps at 2. They are non stop all day. Just until recently have I gotten them to sit still enough to play a board game. I am a teacher by trade, but have considered my oldest to have ADHD..because of family genectics. Clearly I will not diagnose him until he shows issues in school and teachers see that his behavior or energy is academically or socially harming him. He is a normal 2 1/2 year old boy!!! Enjoy his engergy...it will keep you young!

Kathleen - posted on 02/14/2010

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I disagree in concept with the previous poster. Used correctly, medication for ADHD is very effective and safe, and does not make the person taking it a "zombie" or spaced out. Whether a child needs medication or can use other methods to deal with ADHD symptoms is a very individual decision in which many factors should be considered. For example, are the symptoms causing the child to have difficulty learning? Is the child unable to control his or her behavior, resulting in repeated discipline? If so,how is that inability to control the behavior affecting the child's perceptions of self, school and the world in general?

Yes, some people do abuse Adderall. Some people abuse many drugs, but that does not mean there is no legitimate use for those drugs.

Amanda - posted on 02/14/2010

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If, later on, you do find out he has ADD/ADHD try and find more natural ways to help instead of meds. Take it from someone who has had it since they were little. Ritalin makes you feel like a zombie and Adderall gives you that spaced out feeling too. Plus, kids these days tend to misuse Adderall to get high.

Kathleen - posted on 02/14/2010

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At his age, you can't really diagnose ADHD. Some ADHD children are very energetic from the womb, but it really can't be diagnosed at such a young age because developmental rates vary. You can keep an eye on him and see how much he differs from other children as he develops. However, ADHD is not just about having more energy than average. It also involves problems with focused attention, impulsivity, organizational skills, etc. That is also why it can't be diagnosed in such a young child, BTW, because while all of these things differ between children and the differences can be apparent at a young age, so much variation is normal that differences don't mean anything.

Sarah - posted on 02/14/2010

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I work in this field and those behaviors are normal. Doctors typically don't even consider ADHD until age 5 or later and if they do then I wouldn't trust them with my child. Just try to do activites that gradually increase his attention span focusing on increasing maybe 1 minute at a time. 10 to 15 minutes painting is actually pretty darn good. Perhaps during story time give him something to hold or play with while he sits.

April - posted on 02/14/2010

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i apologize in advance, because i know that what i'm going to say will offend you, but i think the medical term for what your son has is I"M TWO AND A HALF YEARS OLD!!!!! i am busy learning about the world around me! i am excited because everything is still new to me and i enjoy engaging in physical activity because i do not have the capacity yet to become a drone of this world. i am untouched by the unreality of the reality of today and you should feel lucky to be in my presence! run, jump, play! don't we all wish we had the energy of a two year old?! wake up woman!!! please don't shove medications down this innocent child's throat! i beg of you!

Jennifer - posted on 02/13/2010

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I have 6 kids and I can tell you not one of them sat down and did anything like story hour for a long time atleast 3 1/2. He is just a normal little boy exploring all of the new things he is finding he can do. Don't worry the day will come when he looks forward to story hour until then take hime to the park and just let him run, or a lot of the gymnastic places have open gym it is a great resource for when winter hits and outside is no longer an option. Goodluck and enjoy.... Jen

Kylie - posted on 02/13/2010

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It is completely normal i have 2 boys aged 6 and 4 and they were and still are constantly on the move, he is yes very energetic. let him go he will tire very easily

Alison - posted on 02/13/2010

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I was constantly being asked if my daughter had been diagnosed and received too many commiserations about having a child with ADHD to count from 10mths to starting school at 4yrs 8mths.
My response was that my daughter was a happy, active, energetic child and I felt lucky that she was normal.
At 2.1/2 years old the world is exciting and they want to experience it all now so their 'hyperactivity' and 'lack of attention span' is normal.
Don't medicalise it or the social stigma will say with your child for longer than you could ever imagine.
If the 'problem' persists start keeping a diary of your concerns around age 6 then at age 8 if you are still a worried, go to a QUALIFIED (Board Certified) Paediatric Specialist.
My daughter is now 14 and can sleep 15hrs a night.

Kathy - posted on 02/13/2010

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A childs attention span is approximately 1 minute for every year of age. I would not worry about ADHD at this age...just be thankful he is an active child and enjoy every moment with him..even if it is exhausting for you at this age!

Sonja - posted on 02/13/2010

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My daughter was the same way but at around 7/8 so I took her to our pediatrician. She suggested I take her to our local Child Study Center. They had her tested and it turned out it was ADHD. We had her on several types of meds. We finally put her on Concerta, 18 mg. We had her on it the whole time she was in public school. Things got worse though because, turns out, she also has Written Output Disorder. The school kept saying that they thought that was her problem but would do nothing until I had her tested. I just withdrew her to homeschool her. After a year of homeschooling, her grades have come up from a C to an A, she is off meds completely. As for the Written Output, we just limit her physical writing to about 20 minutes a day. When she has difficulty with manual writing, I put her on typing at the computer. This has worked wonderfully. She is now very happy and I see her ADHD symptoms dwindling.

I do agree that you should wait until about school age to make a decision. There are forms for you and the school staff to fill out. You can take these survey forms to your local pediatrician who can then give you more info on testing.

Andrea - posted on 02/13/2010

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He sounds like a normal little boy too me. :) I couldn't take my little boy, now almost 14, anywhere until he was about 4. He was always very busy!

JoAnn - posted on 02/13/2010

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Don't worry about that right now. He is a typical 2 1/2 year old. Like they say..the terrible 2's. Most likely he doesn't have adhd. He is just a very active child. He may get bored doing one thing and that is normal. Believe me I had 5 children. Thay are all like that. Well most. Wait til just before he starts 1st grade and if he still acts like that, see a specialist. I think he is normal> Best of luck.

Cynthia - posted on 02/12/2010

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i have the same problem wirh my now three year old son... people keep telling me that he is bad but i just think that he is hyper active. i just give him lots more things to play with and i always leave the radio on for him he really likes trucks that make noise.. maybe you could try that or i just let him run around in the back yard until he gets tired then i give hime a bath an he is out for the night.

Terri - posted on 02/12/2010

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I have a child with ADHD. He is 19 now. He was not diagnosed until he was in 6th grade, because the school psychologist said not enough signs. He had trouble all through school, not sitting still, not paying attention, etc. He was and is a very intelligent young man, but a lot of wasted time not getting him diagnosed. I do agree with the others that it is too young to worry about it, but make sure you pay a lot of attention to it once he starts school. My son could have been a straight A student and did start doing much better once he was put on medication. Another thing you should look into while he is younger is his diet. I have been told by a few people instead of meds they monitored the childs diet like no wheat, sugar, stuff like that. By the time I was advised of these things my son was 14, a little hard to change eating habits of a 14 yr. old. That's another thing to always be aware of is how the meds are affecting your child. It took quite a few tries to get it right and as they grow the meds need changed. It was nice when he was mature enough to tell me if he didn't feel the meds were working or if they started to make him too tired. Just a few things. Good luck.

Jeannie - posted on 02/12/2010

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That age is way too early to start worrying about ADHD. They are just always very active with short attention spans at that age.

Samantha - posted on 02/12/2010

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wowzer sounds like we have the same kid.lol my son bounces off the walls ...so much energy. mine is 2.5 as well and i think it is just a stage and they are boys. hmmm. i usually sit him down and we read a book or draw some pictures.its fun and super cute.

April - posted on 02/12/2010

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my son is the same way and he is 5 1/2 years old and the doctors wanted to diagnose him with the adhd and i won't let them because my opinion is that it is an easy way to get out of dealing with a hyper boy, and boys are hyper.. I was a child that was diagnosed at a very young age with adhd and i was on medication all my life and all it done was made me very self concious of myself and it didn't help me at all.....All it done for me was make me think less of myself and no kid needs to feel less than anyone.....I hope i helped you out a bit....

Betsy - posted on 02/12/2010

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I have a 22 year old daughter who was diagnosted to have ADHD in first grade. But when she was 3 she would try to do things that she shouln't do. Any the things she did could have caused her to get hurt. But I have my degree in Early Childhood most all the things I learn about 2 to 3 year old is that they are very active. I honestly don't think your son has ADHD but if you are really worried to eaze your mind you could take him to the doctor
This from Maida Pearson

Meagan - posted on 02/12/2010

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i forgot to mention that once i was put on Adderall i was fine...most of my symptoms went away & by the time i was about 17 they told me i outgrew it

Meagan - posted on 02/12/2010

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as a person who had ADHD my doctor was able to tell because when i was younger i was very fidgety, i had trouble concentrating, i talked really fast, had a short attention span, and was very very hyper. i was about 11 or 12 when i was diagnosed but they figured i must have always had it.

Andria - posted on 02/12/2010

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Actually food sources only affect a small protion of children. Sugar is not really a culprit. If it is then you would need to not eat period because food items are meant to give people energy. As a Dr. I hear this alot and it just isnt true.

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