Early Symptoms of ADHD in children
Learning about the early symptoms of ADHD in preschool-age children, and about ways in which ADHD can impair a child’s behavior and learning, can help parents and teachers become more proactive about getting strategies in place. It can potentially prevent negative behaviors, low self-esteem and secondary conditions such as anxiety or oppositional defiant behaviors.
Early Symptoms of ADHD
Diagnosing ADHD in preschool age child requires great clinical expertise. At this age, it is much harder to separate and distinguish the behavioral features associated with ADHD from those that typically occur in developing children. Here are some tell-tale signs that you need to watch out for:
Signs of Impulsivity
- Difficulty waiting turn
- Interrupts others
- Invades space or boundaries
- Blurts out verbally
- Reacts without thought or is accident prone
- Difficulty with delayed gratification
- Difficulty managing unhappy feelings
Impulsive kids have trouble inhibiting their behaviors and response. They tend to react in a rapid way, without considering consequences. They may need constant attention that can be exhausting for parents or teachers.
Signs of Hyperactivity
- Moves about excessively
- Fidgety, squirmy, wiggly
- Perpetually on the go
- Loud and disruptive
- Talking excessively
Hyperactivity refers not only to a high level of motor activity, but also disorganized and seemingly purposeless activity – chronic motor restlessness, moving about excessively, squirming, wiggling, fidgeting, falling out of chairs, climbing, running and jumping around – and doing so at inappropriate times. Often, they are so active that slowing down long enough to eat or going to the bathroom may also be challenging.
Signs of Inattention
- Difficulty keeping attention on tasks or playing activities
- Easily distracted
- Shifts from one unfinished activity to the next
- Does not seem to listen when spoken to
- Difficulty following directions
- Forgetful in daily activities
- Plays alone
Kids with ADHD may have trouble regulating their attention. There are be some things, especially activities that are stimulating and interesting, that they are able to focus intently on and in fact, have great difficulty shifting their attention away from. They may also have trouble concentrating on or maintaining focus on one thing. They often pay attention to everything going on around them and easily get distracted.
Parents of kids with ADHD may find it a bit stressful in these early years. Preschoolers with ADHD may have limited options when it comes to daycare and preschool. They also have higher rates of accidental injuries from falls. They require a high level of monitoring and constant supervision. Obviously, these intense behaviors and the need for constant supervision, in order to keep your child safe can be quite draining. But understanding these early symptoms of ADHD can help parents take necessary action and handle the kids accordingly.