Does My 4 Y/o Have ADHD?

Updated on October 03, 2009
V.S. asks from Aliso Viejo, CA
14 answers

A few days ago I took my 4 y/o son to the Doctor and he thinks he may have ADHD. Please can someone with a child who has ADHD help me? I’m doing my research on-line but it’s all so confusing. It some stories it reads “Some children with ADHD are hyperactive, but not all”; “some children lack attention, but not all”…ending with “but this doesn’t mean your child does not have ADHD”.

If you have a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD can you please tell me his/her symptoms? If your child is now older, can you tell me what his/her symptoms were as a young child?

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for your AMAZING responses! It’s awesome how so many women I don’t even know can make me feel so much better. When I spoke to my child’s Dr. and he asked me a series of questions about his diet & exercise, he couldn’t say that he would change anything. My son is on a very healthy diet, since birth. All homemade organic with veggies in almost every meal, even breakfast (veggie omelets). Absolutely no fast food for any of my family. Lots of Omega-3 in his diet as well. Lots of sports & activities in his life and I never give him sugar or MEDS. All natural, homeopathic family who is into nature, being outdoors and helping others. My son even helps me with volunteer work with children and cleaning our beaches. O.K. so why is it that he cannot sit still at times? Why does he freak out around anyone he doesn’t know? Those are the reasons why his Dr. said ADHD….Gosh you’re right about them throwing that term around so loosely! I will take note of what some of you said … he is only 4 years old. Just his spirit and nature. I mean the other night he sat through the entire movie “cars” without moving. Doesn’t that say something? Believe me when I tell you that as soon as the Dr. said “Maybe” ADHD I became a little frantic. Thank you all for calming my mind and making me THINK before reacting….too much anyway =-) Thank you ladies!!! Peace & blessing to you all!

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R.J.

answers from San Diego on

It's highly unlikely that your son has ADHD...in large part...because it's ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE to diagnose that early, and most people DON'T have it. (I do, and my son probably does, but at 7yo it's really too early to tell for sure.)

The way people diagnose "disorders" is by what's different. For a child that young, that would mean that instead of the hyperactivity/distractability (which is dead normal for that age group)...they'd be looking for OTHER symptoms of ADHD. Most commonly, ungodly attention.

Yep.

Along with ADHD and the oh-so-well-known dispersed focus...ALWAYS comes hyper-focus. With an adult we're talking 12-36 hour stints -with no sleep and minimal eating even minimal bathroom breaks- if left to their own devices. With young children, we're talking HOURS of intense, focused, concentration on something that they're interested in. (Hyperactivity is actually ALWAYS present as well...but it can be mental hyperactivity or physical hyperactivity or a combo of both...mental hyperactivity is commonly misunderstood by most people as daydreaming or spacing out).

But while hyper-focus always comes along with adhd, just like hyperactivity isn't limited to ADHD ... there are other disorders as well as other PERSONALITIES that exhibit hyper-focus.

Anyhow, ADHD is a description of how some of our brains work. Just like Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Autism, Genius, Giftedness, Bipolarity is a description of how those people's brains work. It's very very difficult to diagnose ADHD in young children (or Bipolarity, or Dyslexia)... for the simple reason that while the brain would still be functioning the way that an ADHD brain functions, most of their peer group is ACTING the same way, just for different reasons. Just as it's durn near impossible to diagnose dyslexia before a child is reading, it's really really hard to accurately disgnose ADHD without several years of patterned behavior, a more mature brain, and having ruled out the "usual suspects" (diet, sleep, allergies, other disorders such as giftedness...although many if not most ADHD kids are in the gifted range). The negatives of ADHD are brought to the forefront by our schooling system (couldn't DESIGN a system worse for most adhd kids)...and usually a few years in, when it becomes apparent that all the other kids are able to x,y,z, that your child can't. HOWEVER, the adhd kid is capable of about 15 things that most other children aren't. But those things aren't usually prized until adulthood.

So while it's unlikely your son has ADHD, it IS possible, especially if you or dad is ADHD...and it's of course desireable to diagnose as early as possible so you can teach to their strengths...it's very very hard to this young. NEVER depend on a pediatrician or school teacher for a diagnosis...ALWAYS go with a psychologist specializing in ADHD...and expect about a 3 hour testing process, that may come back as "possible" rather than "yes" or "no".

So take a deep breath and relax, you've got a lot of room & time in front of you. :) In the meantime, though feel free to read up. "You mean I'm not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy???" by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo is a good place to start...as are the YahooGroups that are ADHD specific.

4 moms found this helpful
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J.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

Please please please switch doctors, or just ignore your doctor!! This is ridiculous. As a former MSW candidate with a focus on children, I am appalled at the diagnosis of very young children with ADD or ADHD. ALL four year olds could be diagnosed with ADD!
May I suggest you google articles on ADD and ADHD in the NY Times, anything written by Paul Fleiss and Jay Gordon, and contact Lori Petro www.teach-through-love.com for more help.
Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful
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N.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Are you kidding? :) Your son is 4, of course he may display some of the characteristics, it's his age for goodness sake! Personally I think doctors are way to quick to diagnosis this stuff and try and medicate our children.

2 moms found this helpful

S.I.

answers from San Diego on

Docs throw that label around far too loosely. And in the unlikely event that your son truly fits this syndrome, please do NOT succumb to the common practice of giving him drugs. Instead, take him to a qualified classical homeopath who will take care of the underlying problems and allow your son to lead a normal, drug-free life.

1 mom found this helpful
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S.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

I seriously doubt that your pediatrician can diagnose ADHD without a testing protocol, or spending a considerable amount of time observing your child. If you have concerns that you've brought to him, that appear to be symptoms of ADHD, some of these behaviors are age-appropriate - there's no way to distinguish yet. I suggest that you call the Child Success Center in Santa Monica to ask what an appropriate age would be to assess, but generally it wouldn't be until the child has at least started school. All hyperactivity, attention, focus and memory issues will become clear then.

1 mom found this helpful
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B.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

I agree that this condition is over diagnosed, and 4-year-olds are squirmy and non-attentive so how can they tell that it's ADHD and not just age?

If you really think this is an issue, I would bring your child to a neuropsychologist or child psychologist who specializes in diagnosing ADHD. If you're in the South Bay, Valerie Maxwell at The Learning Gym in Manhattan Beach is a psychologist with this specialty.

Also, if you really think it's ADHD, have your child checked for auditory processing disorder. These conditions look identical, although the auditory processing disorder is often overlooked. That's what happened with my son. Once I figured it out, and he got the proper accommmodations, his attention issues disappeared.

HTH,
B.

1 mom found this helpful
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C.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

My 7.75 yr old daughter has ADHD. I knew she was ADHD by age 3, but didn't get an official diagnosis until kindergarten. She was smart enough to do the work, but never completed anything. There are several variations to ADD/ADHD. She has them all. Hyperactive, inattentive and impulsive. Examples as a preschooler: Hyperactive -- doesn't sit down for meals, doesn't nap, always moving, doesn't stay in seat at school. Impulsive -- took crayon and drew all over the walls in preschool class -- enjoyed cleaning them up too! Now she does things like play w/ scissors -- cuts her hair, my bra straps, pokes holes in table cloths. Inattentive -- not on task w/ other kids, doesn't finish work, wouldn't sit and watch a kids movie -- attention span of commercials only.

By 1st grade she couldn't pay attention long enough to read a whole word, but started taking Focalin and by the end of first grade she was reading at 3rd grade level! Keep in mind not all medications work for everyone, so people w/ ADHD may have to try different ones until they find the right one for them.

If your insurance covers diagnosis for ADHD, I'd recommend having your child evaluated, but most psychologists don't test kids before age 6. They need input from parents and teachers. 4 just might be active and immature and too soon to say for sure. If he is in preschool, depending on the quality of the teacher, the teacher may be able to spot ADHD vs. "normal preschool behavior" However, an inexperienced or overwhelmed teacher doesn't help your decision. I teach HS and have worked w/ students w/ issues so long that I can figure it out quickly, but legally I am not a DR and can't diagnose anyone. I did however recommend testing to one student and it turned out she was ADHD and medication helped her tremendously within the span of 1 semester she brought Ds and Fs to A's and B's.

E-mail if you want more details.

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J.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

You should take your child to see a psychologist who is specialized in treating children. They are more informed about this topic and can assist with proper diagnosis and treatment. They can also help educate you on ADHD, if that is indeed what your child has.

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N.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hello

Very confusing to be given a "maybe" diagnosis and not an awful lot of information. I do not have a child with ADHD but I do have a daughter that has been receiving vision training from a doctor in the Pacific Palisades called Dr Gary Polan (I don't know where you are). Dr Polan has categorically said that many children who are diagnosed with ADHD are mis-diagnosed. He said that most actually just need some sort of vision therapy to help them get the messages between the eyes and the brain working properly.

My daughter for instance was constantly being told by teachers that she was spending too much time daydreaming and not enough time concentrating. She could not sit still and focus on any of her work (she was six and just learning to read at the time). There were lots of tears and it was hell. I took her to get her eyes tested and her vision is perfect. However it turned out she was having severe problems re-focusing and tracking. She had to do special eye exercises daily combined with office visits for more substantial therapy (computer based training games) twice a week. She is like a changed little girl. Dr Polan said that her brain was spending so much time simply trying to figure out where she was in space it didn't have a lot of extra time to do anything else. It would be worth getting your son's eyes checked at least. The problem is there are not a lot of opticians who do vision therapy so I will give you Dr Polan's number so at least you can find out more.

Dr. Gary Polan

###-###-####

15415 W Sunset Blvd # 102
Pacific Plsds CA
United States

www.drgarypolan.com

Hope this helps. Good luck!

N.

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M.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi

You may want to do a consultation with my doctor, Dr. David Karaba at East West Medical Group in Fullerton, to discuss whether NAET is an avenue you would like to pursue. You can also go to naet.com to learn more or use their physician locator button.

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J.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am seeing a ton of kids diagnosed with ADD becaus their parents feed them cereal in the morning and the kids are not getting any protien, or at least, not enough. Feed your child protein with every meal and you'll probably see a difference.

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L.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

I was wondering have you ever thought about researching homeopathic and natural remedies for your son? Sugar, dyes, different food combinations and even toxins (in the environment and home) can truly make a difference in a child's behavior. But, please also remember that kids are ALIVE and have feelings and spirit and do not deserve to be labeled or medicated. I definitely know from personal experience psych medications do more harm than good and that, in fact, there are many natural solutions that can actually help with what your son is going through.

And, honestly, I'd look into the motivations of whoever is pushing to label your sweet son.

Please call the CITIZENS COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (CCHR). Their # is: (323) 467~4242. And, here's their website: http://www.cchrint.org/. They can definitely help you!

I highly recommend contacting Dr. Mike Spearman who is truly an amazing Chiropractor and Nutritionist and would definitely be able to help your son naturally.

Here's his data:

1279 North Berendo St.
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 663~1066

http://spearmanbetterhealth.com/

In addition, I suggest taking your son to H.E.L.P. (The Hollywood Education and Literacy Project) located here in Hollywood. It is a free program, and what is amazing is that I've seen kids come into this program who have been labeled ADD/ ADHD and by learning the study technology they offer and getting their diet in order, magically their ADD/ ADHD symptoms disappear. REALLY! You can definitely call H.E.L.P. for a free tour.

Here's their data:

Hollywood Education Literacy Project International
6336 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood CA 90028
###-###-####
http://www.helplearn.org/index-flash.html

Ask for Amanda or Ann. They definitely will be able to help you and your son!

I'd also recommend checking out 5 organizations validating why going the natural route is best for you and your son:
http://ablechild.org/
http://www.cchr.org/
http://www.fightforkids.org/
http://www.psychsearch.net/teenscreen.html
http://www.labelmesane.com/

And, please watch:

Psych Conflicts:
http://www.psychconflicts.org/

Making A Killing:
http://www.cchr.org/#/videos/making-a-killing-introduction

CCHR: Depression Mental Health Screening Test Puts Kids' Health at Risk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDgBSSSVtrU

CCHR Says Top APA Psychiatrist Needs Lesson in Disease vs. Disorder
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhjdbifuNco

CCHR: The Difference Between Medical Disease & Psychiatric Disorder
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3JQ8OVHVWA

CCHR Antidepressant Drug Spoof: Tripolar disorder
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8eS8BZdC1o

'GENERATION RX' Extended Trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xehHwkPpevk

The Psycho Pharmaceutical Industry with Former Pharma Scientist, Shane Ellison
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOT5DSIUTOY&eurl

Dr John Rengen Virapen, Whistleblower of the Psychopathic Pharmaceutical Industry, Speaks Out
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QMYFgC_YSo

Psychiatric Drugs & the Brave New World: featuring Jim Marrs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nGZ1T42lk8&eurl

Whistleblower Allen Jones/Mental health screening of kids
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GhBfDMW2Fo&eurl

Fight For Kids: The Candace Downing Story
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Xjx0gdL83I

CCHR PSA: Psychiatric Drugs and Violence
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRJN_NfyiH4

CCHR PSA Warning on Antidepressants/Child Suicides
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgMovNmtRF0&feature=user

AND

Too many kids on psych meds? Parts 1, 2 & 3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73SRn1gdAdM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcvCtxaiOGg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58UZqr3fiZI

It's vital you watch: "The Drugging of Our Children"
http://tinyurl.com/nrrpw5

I also truly recommend reading "Doped Up and Duped – nearly impossible to find independent studies of psych drugs with no Pharma ties." http://tinyurl.com/mj9494

Please feel free to contact me at: (323) 906~2784 or via e~mail me at [email protected]____.com.

I'd love to help you and your son however I can.

With love,
L. (MAMA to 2 year old Dylan Orion.......29 September 2007) : )))

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H.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

When my oldest son was in Kindergarten, the teacher insisted that he be tested for ADHD. I have Kaiser and the pediatrician referred us to a psychiatrist for evaluation. This doctor felt that he was on the far end of being a very active boy, but he was able to concentrate on things that interested him, so would not put that label on him.

Is your son able to concentrate on things that interest him...such as looking at dinosaur pictures, building with legos, playing with matchbox cars and track? Little boys tend to be very active compared to girls, therefore there are articles saying that teachers often single out boys as problems. But if he can concentrate when you are reading a neat story, or playing with certain toys for about 5 to 6 minutes (attention span of that age), then only his need for action could be his problem... and this is really not diagnosis, but an observation...you would need to make sure he gets lots of exercise:) and also understands that there are times when he cannot be super active. My son actually was hiding when the teacher was doing role call, wanting to run when they were to print letters (they start them in printing in Kindergarten now and it use to be first grade). Maturity can be a big factor...sometimes a year can really help boys develop concentration skills and settle down. I did hold my son back a year before Kindergarten and he is doing great. The structure of the classroom also effects the way teacher's perceive a child. I found "rigid" structured teachers had problems with my son, and therefore would sit in the two classes for the following year at our school and observe the classroom. I would the request a teacher and my request was honored. Teachers that allow students to get up and sharpen the pencil or get paper from the back of the room and alternate desk activities with other activities work best for my son.

Has he in preschool and if so what do the teachers observe? If he is not in preschool, I would suggest putting him in next year instead of K.

I would definitely get him evaluated by a psychiatrist or another specialized doctor rather than a pediatrician.

It agree it is important to follow up on this now, rather than let him go into school labeled and you not sure.
I hope this is helpful.
H-

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S.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi VS, I do not usually respond to stuff on here and just like to hear and see what others are asking and doing but this one hit home for me and I felt it was important that I respond to you. Let me start off by saying that the moms who have replied to you so far have NO IDEA of what ADD/ADHD is and have no experience with it. My son was diagnosed at age 4. The truth is that it is over stated that a child has ADD/ADHD by teachers, school staff and some Peds. You should have received a referral to a NUROLOGIST; they are the only ones that can diagnose this illness. They will do testing on his brain waves and then make an EDUCATED DIAGNOSES! My son is now 14 years old and off his medication and I can say with confidence that due to his early diagnoses and treatment he was able to advance and learn just like all the other kids. We did try to remove his meds occasionally and the difference was night and day. You do need to educate yourself as much as possible because there are many options for treatment. There is diet, behavior modifications, counseling, and medication; we used all of the above. My son is well on his way to graduating high school and I give a lot of the credit to his constant care and treatment. Please do not just dismiss this because getting a grip on it early gives your baby boy a chance to be a "normal" child and not get labeled as a trouble maker or stupid by the school and other children. PLEASE do take him to a specialist/ neurologist before ruling this out because I know you love your boy and want to help him be the best he can be, just like me and my boy.

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