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Teacher Says I Should Have My 2 Yr Old Son Checked for ADD. Is This Too Early?

My son goes to precshool. He's about 2 yrs and 8 months. His current teacher of 1 month told me that he has a short attention span, gets bored with activities very quickly, and is super hyper in school. I thought this was just normal for his age. Just a brief backgound, he was in a toddler class prior to his current preschool class. At the toddler class, the age range was 1.5 to 2.5 and they had 2 teachers for every 7 kids. I didn't have any complaints from his teachers there. In his current class, they have 2 teachers for 20 kids ranging from 2.5yrs old to 5 yrs old. He is currently the youngest in class. I don't think he has ADD or ADHD. I am thinking maybe the teacher is not used to having someone that little and not as behaved as the older kids in class. As of now, he is quite advanced in his age. He is already able to read 3 letter words and was able to learn his ABCs and spell his name at 1 year and 8 months. His memory is very good. When you teach him a song, he will already have memorized it in a day. I am thinking maybe the activities they make him do, he knows already that's why he's getting bored. His teacher wants me to bring him to a developmental psychologist to evaluate if he has ADD. Do you think this is too early? I thought 2 yr olds are supposed to have short attention spans and be very playful. I am afraid they might misdiagnose him.

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Yes!! This is way too young. What do you think she is suggesting if he does have ADD? A doctor will never put a kid this young on meds (if he is ethical that is)... AND, if she thinks his symptoms are similar to ADD (which does mimic typical 2-3 year old behavior), then she should use behavioral strategies that work with kids that may have ADD! I don't see the point in labeling him ADD right now. Seriously, what is the point? Seems crazy to me to be quite honest with you. On the flip side, he is very young to be in preschool, and she may not be use to that developmental stage. It's a tough situation because you have a very bright kid intellectually, but socially/developmentally, his "deficits" (which sound within normal range for his age) may just be more apparent in this particular classroom. I highly doubt that a professional would diagnose him at this age! If they do.... get another opinion!

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Many two year olds have short attention spans and are hyper. When they go to school at 2 years old, they will not behave like 4 year olds. ADD or ADHD kids can be just as intelligent as non ADD/ADHD kids - my daughter (a very hyper little kid) is an honor student, a freshman in high school with a 93 overall average and knew all her letters/numbers/etc at that age, but diagnosed with ADHD at age six. Yes, two is too young, they don't have appropriate screenings for that age. Doctors don't typically diagnose before age 6.

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I think you're son is just as smart as they can be and gets bored with what they have for him there. It is too early, in my opinion, to diagnose him with that. He's only 2!

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I think you are right; the teacher probably is overwhelmed and trying to shift the blame for what's going on in her class onto your child and maybe a few others kids as well. If I were you, I would probably speak to the director of the school about the conversation you had with this teacher. My concern is that this teacher is there throwing out possible medical diagnosises (sp?) to the parents, getting the parents all worked up, when this teacher most likely doesn't have the medical training or experience to make that assessment. Also, she may need extra supports in the classroom or more training on how to manage a classroom that size and the director really needs to know about this.

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My 3rd daughter was also very smart, was reading letters early, could memorize songs etc. The way we knew she had ADHD was that she bounced off the walls literally. There was nothing she wouldn't climb. She had and showed no fear at all. If she did fall she laughed it off. She apparently never showed much pain. She let a doctor stitch her up once without being numbed up just because it was late and the doctor wanted to go home! She didn't even flinch. My daughter was only 10 months old when she learned how to get out of the house and pile things up to get on top of the fridge. We had 5 locks on the front door to give me time to get to her. She was funny, happy, but just a wild-child. She would climb on a chair and do a belly flop on the floor.

If your child sounds a little bit like this, I would say you have decisions to make. But just know that we never had her evaluated. We homeschooled her until she was 11. Then she switched to a public school. They complained constantly. I told them to stuff it. She became a manager at McDonalds the day she turned 16. She's worked full-time and gone to school for years. She's turning 20 this year, doing well in junior college and has become a mother already. She's doing a great job with her son. She's still without fear. But she's smart and she's doing what she has to do. I'm very glad I never medicated her. Her PERSONALITY may not have been a joy to work with in a school setting. But she's fine the way she is.

In the 8th grade her teacher complained that she wouldn't stand on the allotted number on the field outside. He said she'd be running around her number instead of standing on it. OH SO FREAKING WHAT! She'd never make a good soldier in the military. But she is a natural born leader and will always do well in life.

Tell the teacher to get some skills and deal with it.

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Um... Yeah. It's waaaaaaay too early. Way, way, way too early.

Now... giftedness is a sign of adhd, but it's also a sign of out and out giftedness, aspergers, etc. You can't claim adhd purely because a child is gifted.

As to dx'ing... she's looking for all the WRONG symptoms. In order to dx any disorder the evaluator looks for things that are not age appropriate. Just to name one: in toddlers, they would be looking for hyperfocus (up to several hours in a toddler) not distractibility. And high energy doesn't equate until her peers LOSE their high energy (which happens typically between 6 & 9... although they still have more energy than adults). ALL kids are high energy. It's part of the nature of being a child. It builds strong bones, teaches the brain how to judge distances/proprioception/force, and lays neural pathways for large and small motor movements. Plus the whole muscle development thing. Now, some kids are "lump babies" (happiest to have the world come to them... the sunny disposition babies/toddlers who will happily stay in one place) and others are adventurers (happiest to be out discovering the world and risking life and limb doing so)... but both are high energy. Just two different expressions of personality.

Even then, you've still got a classification problem, because while all adhd kids and adults have hyperfocus (in addition to the hypofocus/dispersed focus that the disorder gets it's name from)... gifted kids also display hyperfocus in the areas of their talents. So if you've got periods of long concentration it could be adhd or it could be something else entirely, and it usually takes a few more years of brain maturation to accurately diagnose what (if anything) is going on. But the short attention span in toddlers is NOT a sign of adhd... the opposite is.

Could your daughter have adhd? Sure. But you won't be able to get an affirmative dx for a bare minimum of 2 years... and more likely 4. It is soooooo way to early to tell.

If it's a good developmental psychologist, you and they will get to have a good laugh together in the office while you make a followup appointment for a few years down the road.

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Yes!! This is way too young. What do you think she is suggesting if he does have ADD? A doctor will never put a kid this young on meds (if he is ethical that is)... AND, if she thinks his symptoms are similar to ADD (which does mimic typical 2-3 year old behavior), then she should use behavioral strategies that work with kids that may have ADD! I don't see the point in labeling him ADD right now. Seriously, what is the point? Seems crazy to me to be quite honest with you. On the flip side, he is very young to be in preschool, and she may not be use to that developmental stage. It's a tough situation because you have a very bright kid intellectually, but socially/developmentally, his "deficits" (which sound within normal range for his age) may just be more apparent in this particular classroom. I highly doubt that a professional would diagnose him at this age! If they do.... get another opinion!

3 moms found this helpful

So many people missunderstand ADHD, from soup to nuts. So from the get go, this teacher's missunderstanding would make me wonder if she knew what she was seeing. ADD is now ADHD innatentive type, for starters, and if he is hyperactive, she should not "suspect" that anyway. If she knew what she was talking about, she would have said tht she suspected that he had ADHD, combined type, so that is your first clue.

Second, she is a teacher. It would be appropriate for her to tell you what his issues were, and that it was her opinion that you seek an evaluation to determine if there was an issue, but it is not at all helpful for her to have inaccurately said what she thougth it was. That is the function of an evaluation, and she did your son a disservice by not focusing on the behaviros she saw, how often she saw them, what the enviornment was when she saw them, what her intervention was, and how sucessful her intervention was. THAT is her job, and if she sees a problem, she should document it for you so that you can get assistance from a professional if that is what he needs.

He is not too young to be diagnosed, that is a myth and a missunderstanding that many lay people hold. He can be assessed by a developmental pediatrician at this age, and many neurodevelopmental conditions like ADHD can be diagnosed. Psycholgists ,of any kind, do not diagnose anything, they may treat and provide therapy for many conditions, but they are not medical doctors and they are not the appropriate profession to start any evaluation for a medical issue (red flag number two that this teacher does not know what she is talking about.)

Abscent her doing a good job of documenting issues, she is comparing him to 5 year olds. That being said, I caution you that even when teachers do things that make them appear to be idiots, and that make us angry, sometimes they have valid observations. At this point, I would not discount her observations out of hand, ask for appropriate documentation, and keep a keen eye on his development. Calling EI for a quick evaluation in your home might make you feel better about it.

Good luck,
M.

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they can't diagnose a 2 and a half year old with ADD. it's too early. they usually wait until age 6. your son sounds like my super smart 5 year old. my husband says she has ADD. i have told him that was the last time he comes with a 3 letter anything regarding my children. she will sit still long enough to do her homework otherwise she's happy, bouncy, full of energy. she's my mini me. i was and still am exactly the same.
back to you. thank the teacher and tell her your son is too young for a diagnosis like that.

1 mom found this helpful

Kids do have ADHD at 2 years old, but at this age, the dr won't really do anything unless it is an extreme case. We've known since my son was 2 that something was up, but he didn't start getting meds or anything until it interfered with his ability to succeed in school (at 7yo). He is exceptionally smart, as are many adhd kids, but was failing simple things like using the computer because it wouldn't work fast enough for him and he'd click, click, click on the mouse thinking it would speed it up.

I think your son is bored out of his mind. The teacher needs to give him more and/or harder work to do. You should see if there is a Montessori preschool in your area. They teach to the childs ability, not their age.

The teacher may have had the psychologist confused with psychiatrist. You'd want to make sure he saw a psychiatrist who specializes in adhd so you can be sure they know what they're talking about.

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I'm concerned that the teacher is asking for an evaluation for a specific diagnosis. Professionally trained teachers do not do this. Both of my grandchildren have been diagnosed within the past few months as having ADHD after having been involved in the school system for several years. Teachers would describe behaviors, compare them to standard milestone markers and suggest getting an evaluation. When I asked the one teacher if she was suggesting that my granddaughter had ADHD she replied that she does have some symptoms of that but only a professional in child development could make that determination.

My grandson is nearly 7 (June 27) and has been in the special ed system since he was 2 1/2 because of a speech disorder. It's only been in the last couple of months that anyone has mentioned involving a developmental pediatrician. He's had major behavior issues from the start,

I don't know if 2 1/2 is too early for an evaluation. If your son is having developmental issues then it would be good to have one. It's never too early if there is the possibility that a child will benefit from specialized care. However, a short attention span, gets bored easily with certain activities and being hyper (super needs a definition) is a description of a normal 2 1/2 year old.

If they mentioned or you've noticed other difficulties or developmental delays such as being unable to speak, unable to respond when asked to do something, being so uncoordinated that he frequently runs into walls, purposely hurts other children, doesn't interact with his care takers, that sort of thing then he may need to be evaluated but not only or necessarily for ADD or ADHD.

I'm guessing that this is a privately run preschool with teachers who may have a certificate but who are not licensed as an early childhood educator. They have minimum training and perhaps very little experience.

Is the school licensed by the state? In Oregon, 2 adults for 20 children of that age is insufficient. I don't know how many are required but I do know it's more than 2 per 20. My grandson attends an in home day care. The provider is licensed as a preschool also and she is limited to 6 children. She has to have 1 adult for every 5 children after that.

I also recommend that it is not helpful to have that wide a range in one room. The needs of a 2-3 yo are different than those for a 4-5 yo. My granddaughter attended a preschool and the children were divided so that each classroom had children who were close in age. The 5 yo were in pre-k and the classroom only had 5 yo who would be eligible for K at the beginning of the next school year. The school did not accept anyone under the age of 3.

Perhaps this is not the right place for your son. I would not want my 2 1/2 year old in a classroom made up of 20 kids with this wide of an age range supervised by just 2 adults.

I suggest that you evaluate whether or not this school is providing the kind of care and opportunities that your son needs. I might also talk with his pediatrician about where he is in the way of development. I would ignore any reference to ADD or ADHD. His activity and focus level sounds normal to me.

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