You can help your child with ADHD - Many parents think the symptoms we discuss below are normal for any child.
Most of them are—except that a child with ADHD will exhibit these behaviors more frequently and more intensely than other children their same age. Fortunately, ADHD can be treated and managed.
When you have the correct expectation for a child with ADHD, along with appropriate tools and strategies targeted for ADHD, it will go much smoother for both of you.
1. Know the ADHD symptoms in toddlers & preschoolers
Is it possible to diagnose and treat a toddler for ADHD? What are the common signs of ADHD in toddlers or preschoolers, and is there an ADHD test for a child this young?
Typically, most children are diagnosed with ADHD after the age of five or six, once they’re in the educational system. But some parents recognize early on that their young child is struggling and needs help.
While there is no specific ADHD test for the young toddler or preschooler, there are early signs of ADHD in a toddler or preschooler, which a parent can identify in order to get the appropriate help. Between the ages of one and three, when language is not sophisticated, a parent must look for non-verbal indications to determine if the child’s behavior is within normal limits for their age.
Because there is no specific ADHD test for a young child, early diagnosis of ADHD can be difficult and should be considered tentative. Issues that can mimic the symptoms of ADHD should be carefully considered, including:
Dr. Neal’s ADHD assessment is comprehensive and unique. It looks under all the different “rocks” of disorders and situations so that he can determine what exactly is causing the behavior problems.
Here are some of the questions you can ask to interpret the difference between age-appropriate behavior and ADHD behavior in a young child:
Take notice if these statements describe your child:
2. Know how ADHD is diagnosed and treated at NPS.
We do not assume every inattentive or highly active child has ADHD. Instead, we do a thorough and comprehensive assessment to find and address other factors.
Dr. Neal’s assessment has been designed specifically for ADHD. It is not a typical neuropsychological battery, which studies show cannot fully measure the symptoms of ADHD because it only has a 5% correlation to the diagnosis for ADHD. Dr. Neal knows he must ask the right questions that reflect the child over their whole lifespan, in different settings, with different types of people, to get at the heart of ADHD behaviors and mindsets.
The medical field has spent decades attempting to define ADHD. Doctors and researchers will tell you there is no single marker or ADHD test that can assess for the signs of ADHD in toddlers, kids, or teens.
Dr. Neal has invested over 30 years answering the question, “What is ADHD?” He developed an ADHD intake assessment, to be filled out prior to the first session. The evaluation is based on the completed intake form and an interview with the parents.
If it appears that your child is struggling with ADHD, Dr. Neal will walk you through the various treatments, services, and tools that are available, in cooperation with your child’s school and healthcare providers. The earlier we can detect the likelihood of ADHD, the earlier you can begin advocating for your child and supporting his or her unique needs.
Please be assured that if Dr. Neal diagnoses your child with ADHD, he will not immediately assume your child needs medication. He has spent decades exploring natural, alternative methods for the treatment of ADHD. We will discuss these options, along with medication, in detail.
3. The last step: evaluation and diagnosis
If your child shows signs of ADHD, we will discuss strategies that will help you manage the behaviors you are concerned about. We have found the following strategies to be very helpful for children under the age of five.
A final note: It’s important for parents of hyperactive toddlers to take care of themselves and to get support. Raising a child with ADHD is a marathon, not a sprint!
“I have talked with many parents who wish they had gotten their child evaluated earlier so that they could have more effectively parented and advocated for their child. If you think your young child may have ADHD, trust your gut and follow your wisdom as a parent. You won’t regret having the education and tools to better support your child from an early age.” – Dr. Douglas Neal