ADHD, Symptoms, Warning Signs, Youth, Preschool

Experts have recently stated that up to 40 percent of children with ADHD displayed symptoms as early as age 3.

Out of every 11 school-aged children, odds are at least one exhibits symptoms consistent with an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis, and experts have indicated that 40% of those children will display symptoms while in preschool.

Due to the profound effect ADHD has on a person’s ability to learn, early recognition of ADHD symptoms is essential, says Dr. Mark Mahone, the Director of the Neurophyschology Department at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

Children whose symptoms begin in early childhood are at the highest risk for academic failure and grade repetition, says Dr. Mahone. Research shows that children with ADHD have abnormal brain development, meaning that ADHD has a biological basis that often makes it a lifelong condition.

Parents out to keep an eye out for suspect behavior, even in very young children. Dr. Malone also emphasized that in children 3 to 4 years of age, the following behaviors may be a warning sign of ADHD and should consider referring them to a professional:

  • Shuns or dislikes activities that require more than one to two minutes of concentration
  • Loses interest in activities after a few minutes
  • Talks a lot more and makes more noise than other children the same age
  • Climbs on things despite being told not to
  • Unable to hop on one foot by the age of 4
  • Almost always restless and insists on getting up after being seated for only a few minutes
  • Acts fearless, which results in dangerous situations
  • Warms up to strangers too quickly
  • Behaves aggressively with friends
  • Has been injured after moving too fast or running after being told to slow down

 What You Should Do

If parents observe these symptoms and have concerns about their child’s development, they should consult with their pediatrician or another developmental expert, said Mahone. There are safe and effective treatments that can help manage symptoms, increase coping skills and change negative behaviors to improve academic and social success.

Dr. Malone and his colleagues recently used neuroimaging to find that children with ADHD have a smaller caudate nucleus (a small structure in the brain associated with thinking and motor control) than other children their age. They indicated that their hope for their research is that it leads to earlier interventions for children with ADHD to improve academic outcomes.

The causes aren’t really known, although recent studies suggest that sunlight levels contribute to ADHD, as well as genetics and other epigenetic factors.

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