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ADHD 5 year old
Skippymarine82 posted:
How do I tell if my son has ADHD at 5? My son is awesome but he cannot sit still. He is so overbearing it drives away friends and annoys parents. He cannot follow even simple instructions without getting distracted. He has emotional break downs all the time. At first I thought it was his age but he was having trouble at pre school and with friends the same age.
Roy Benaroch, MD responded:
Just last year the AAP issued new recommendations expanding the age at which ADHD should be considered and diagnosed. Prior to this the diagnosis wasn't really considered reliable until age 6. The newer guidelines suggest that even at age 4 or 5 ADHD should be considered as a possibility, and should be evaluated and treated.

It can be difficult to know "for sure", because many young kids have a "normal" amount of the kinds of characteristics you look for in children with ADHD: impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention. ADHD means there there are more of these behaviors than expected for age, and that they interfere with ordinary things.

There are standardized "tests" for ADHD-- basically sets of questions to be answered by parents and teachers, comparing one child to thousands of others. However, most of these are designed to make comparisons at 6 years and up. To my knowledge, there is no good standard test available for kids under six.

Even if the diagnosis isn't 100% clear, the first-line therapy at this age ought to be behavioral counseling. This can help with kids who "seem" to have ADHD, even if they don't meet formal diagnostic criteria. Ask your pediatrician for a referral to a behavioral therapist for this kind of help.

Best of luck!

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