The typical age of diagnosis for ADHD is around 7 years of age. If severe enough, a diagnosis could be given as soon as age 4. At HML we have found 5 early signs that we pay attention to for our patients and patient’s parents. Please keep in mind these are just signs, this does not mean your child has ADHD. There are always more details to consider when reading the following, but this list can certainly help guide you in knowing the signs for toddlers with ADHD.
- Consistently wetting themselves (daily) day and/or night when entering kindergarten. It happens to be that the micturition center in the brain is located next to the orbitofrontal cortex – which is usually delayed in development in children with ADHD. This is a correlation we find often.
- Inability to sit still. Now can be applied to nearly all kids. However, we are talking about how this is a life disruption, in school, church, sports, home, music lessons. If sitting still is a problem in 2 of the 3 main domains of a child’s life (home, school recreation) then this is something to consider. Read https://hmlfunctionalcare.com/fidgety-kids/ to learn more.
- Hooked on screens? Children whom are only happy while in front of a TV or other device can be addicted to screens. For several reasons the programs and games on screens that our children interact with are very addicting. Addiction is addiction, is addiction… It does not matter if it is sex, drugs rock and roll or the iPad the same areas of the brain are involved. Do your children lose emotional control when not in front of one, or when they are taken away?
- Emotional lability. The fancy way of saying emotional ups and downs. We find that children with ADHD (diagnosed or otherwise) have dopamine regulation issues and their moods may go up and down throughout the day due to not getting their dopamine fix – see point number 3 above.
- Constantly redirecting attention. Again, this can be applied to many, many kids that do not fit the criteria for any form of ADHD. The main point to consider is, is this disruptive to life? Do our family activities revolve around this issue? The second point to consider is does my child have any of the above symptoms, or do they meet criteria from other publications from reputable resources such as https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html
With all of these points, we like to consider the other side of the coin… That is, we can be pretty hard on our kids, and we have high expectations for them, life is balance and this is one last thing to consider. To learn more about what HML does to help permanently improve function and possibly do this so much that a diagnosis is no longer warranted, read more: https://hmlfunctionalcare.com/adhd/