At what age are children normally diagnosed with ADD/ADHD?
Many children are not diagnosed with ADD/ADHD until the formal school years. This is because the diagnostic criteria require that children show symptoms in at least two environments. In addition, ADD/ADHD has come into much controversary over the past several years and some doctors are hesitant at diagnosing a child younger than school age.
The notion that ADD/ADHD is over diagnosed is still prevalent and many parents are also very leery of such a diagnosis.
However, some children have been diagnosed as early as 2 or 3 years old. As we learn more and more about ADD/ADHD, diagnosis can be easier. But diagnosis of a young child can be difficult. Children reach developmental milestones at different times and relying simply on these developmental criteria is not possible.
Young children are also very excitable and this excitability increases when routines are changed or children are in a high stimulus environment. The terrible twos can look much like ADHD.
On the other hand, many parents of children with ADD/ADHD have said they knew something was different with their child from infancy. They knew that the terrible twos were more than just terrible and they knew that something was askew. Parents of multiple children, where only one has had ADHD, have stated that the differences in behaviors in the children made it obvious that something was wrong. Parents, however, can be reluctant at accepting or seeking out a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD at such an early age.