New Issue!

Spring 2017 Issue ADDitude magazine Read the 'ADHD Therapies That Work' issue now!

The New ADDitude Forums Are Live!

Reach our full community by posting to ADDitude's discussion forums here


Is my 4 year old ADHD

I was approached by my child’s teacher at daycare yesterday with the concerns of him being ADHD and to seek medication. He is 4. I didn’t know if it was possible to diagnose at such an early age. At his age, hyperactivity is a norm for a little boy. How do I differentiate between norm and possibly ADHD symptoms?  Of course, I have concerns and not wanting to jump on the medication outlet just yet. I am overwhelmed with all the research I have done in the last 24 hours. The daycare’s main concern was he was having a hard time focusing when it came to school work. I would appreciate any insight.


ADHD can now be diagnosed as young as 4 years old:

You want to be sure the clinician evaluating for ADHD has a lot of experience with ADHD in children. They will need to be very knowledgeable and thorough to tease apart typical pre-k behavior from what would constitute ADHD. These symptoms have to be frequent, in more than one environment, and more than expected in a typically developing kid.

When my son was 4, I also thought he was a super-active little boy too. Once we started kindergarten, it quickly became apparent there was more to his story. He still wasn’t diagnosed until age 6 though. What I wouldn’t give for him to have been identified and diagnosed at age 4—kindergarten was the worst year for our family and I can’t help but think it could have been easier for my son and our family if his ADHD and LDs were identified and treated before he started school.

Here’s more on ADHD in preschool:

And, I think it helps with the medication decision, if it comes to that, to know the facts about ADHD medication:

And, lastly, some information on getting a diagnosis and treating ADHD in kids:

ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

Posted by adhdmomma on Jan 12, 2017 at 2:29pm

I am so grateful our son was diagnosed at age 3, and never regretted it!  Waiting too long can cause the underlying problem to be masked by discouragement, defense mechanisms, a failure identity, and a distrust for authority.  It’s also easier to isolate the variables when you can be around them most of the day.  We’ve gotta catch them before they fail.  When he was 8 he told someone he was “Abnormal, and good at it!!”  He started meds at four, after starting preschool. I already had a doctor’s appointment set up, but didn’t tell his preschool he had been diagnosed, yet, just to see what they would say.  I got a call the second day.  They didn’t mention ADHD.  They said he refused to do the project, wouldn’t sit at the table but under it, grabbed toys from other children, wouldn’t wait his turn, and “had little concern for the feelings of others.”  I was honestly relieved to get the call!  It was hard to believe he was the same child after he started taking meds.  They helped him be the person he was choosing to be.  He is now 195 lbs. and 6 feet tall, and on meds for ADHD!

Posted by AD/HD Is Real! on Jan 15, 2017 at 3:15am

Join the New ADDitude Forums

ADDConnect is shutting down on July 31.
To continue sharing and receiving support from the ADDitude community, visit our new discussion forums.

Search the ADDConnect Group Discussions