QUESTION: I think my 4-year-old son may have ADHD. It actually runs in my family. What are the symptoms and can you tell if a 4-year-old has it.
DR. LOPEZ’ ADVICE: Usually ADHD is diagnosed after the child has started school when we are better able to evaluate if he can concentrate and not be disruptive. The diagnosis involves several criteria. Symptoms have to be present before age 7 and they have to involve more than 1 area of his environments (school, home, church, etc). Symptoms have to be present for at least 6 months. It can be hyperactivity alone, inattention without hyperactivity or a mixture of hyperactivity and inattention. We need to exclude other causes that may mimic ADHD such as lack of sleep, lead poisoning, behavioral problems and lack of discipline.
There is a tendency to see ADHD within the same family. I recommend that you discuss this with your pediatrician. There have been cases diagnosed as young as 4 but it’s not as common. I would not make this diagnosis until I had done a very extensive evaluation to rule out other causes/explanations for his behavior.
I hope this helped.
Wanda Lopez, M.D.
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