Age When ADHD Is Diagnosed



Some parents notice signs of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in their kids before they even start school. The child may not be able to sit still for very long or pay attention to games or television. But just because a parent thinks their child shows signs of ADHD does not mean that they have the disorder. Because children develop and grow at very different rates, it is crucial to get a professional's opinion of the child's growth and behavior. You may want to wait until the child enters school to definitely diagnose the disorder.

ADHD may not be noticed by parents or another family member, or it may go unnoticed until the child runs into problems at school. Because school is very structured and task-oriented, ADHD is more apparent than anywhere else. Due to these circumstances, it is often a teacher who first notices ADHD in a child. Teachers come into contact every day with all types of children, and over time they become aware of children who have learning difficulties in comparison to the average child. Often, a teacher will mention this to the parents and suggest getting the child evaluated for ADHD. One thing that teachers do not notice, though, are children who are passive and blend into the woodwork. Children with inattentive ADD are often quiet and spacey, and these qualities do not stand out in the classroom. These qualities are also not paired with the picture of the hyperactive child that comes to mind when you think of ADHD.

Once it has been suggested that a child may have ADHD, the next step is to rule out that the symptoms are not being caused by anything physical. Physical disorders such as thyroid problems can mimic ADHD symptoms. A general practitioner can physically evaluate your child to rule this out. After this, it will be necessary to find a specialist who is qualified to test the child. There are many types of specialists that can diagnose ADHD, and it is up to the parents in finding one that works. Doctors that test for ADHD are child psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists and other types of licensed mental health professionals. If you have trouble finding someone who does the testing, CHADD can be a great resource for this.

After you find a specialist, you will need to bring the child being evaluated as well as a family member who has known them since they were young. A thorough history will need to be taken to accurately document when the problems associated with ADHD began. After this has taken place, several diagnostic tests will be given to test the presence of ADHD.

There is no one age that ADHD is diagnosed, but it is very common that once a child enters school that the symptoms will be more apparent in a structured environment. But there are many individuals who are not diagnosed until adulthood, and this is becoming more and more prevalent as the rate of adults diagnosed with ADHD skyrockets.


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