• Dr. Luisa Bryce

Does My Preschooler Have ADHD?


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder. It’s also a term loosely thrown around in today’s society. Additionally, you’ve probably heard of the term “ADD,” or “Attention Deficit Disorder,” which, according to theAmerican Psychological Association, does not exist. ADHD, however, has several subtypes to differentiate between inattentive symptoms, hyperactive/impulsive symptoms, and a combination of both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms.

Preschoolers are usually children ages 3-5, and children of this age are typically quite active and often have difficulty paying attention for more than a few minutes. How then, do you know if your child is “typical” for his/her age in terms of attention and activity level? Here are a few pointers to help you figure out if you should have your preschooler evaluated:

  1. Your child climbs constantly and acts as though he/she is driven by a motor. Your child is consistently in motion and has a hard time sitting still without bouncing, fidgeting, or trying to get up and down, despite redirection from adults.

  2. Your child has consistent difficulty slowing down and controlling body movements and extremities, often resulting in injury (bruises, scratches, stitches, broken limbs, etc.). Also, your child (age 4 or older) cannot hop on one foot).

  3. Your child displays a lack of fear in dangerous situations (e.g. approaching strangers without hesitation).

  4. Your child has a hard time getting along with same-age playmates and is mildly aggressive and significantly louder than other preschoolers.

  5. Your child cannot sustain attention for more than a few minutes, cannot follow simple directions, and cannot organize him/herself in play and clean-up activities.

If you suspect your preschooler may have ADHD, your child should be evaluated by a professional. If you do not have a trusting mental health professional, ask your pediatrician. Pediatricians can help families get on the right track and will refer families to mental health professionals so parents can be provided with definite answers.

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