Some ADD symptoms in toddlers are well-known. Depression, learning difficulties, social impairment, low IQ, and even substance abuse are just a few of the consequences of undiagnosed ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder (also known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – almost synonymous with Hyperkinetic Disorder by the World Health Organization).
Though there are some arguments to the contrary, ADD is very much real, and the prevalence is rapidly rising. Worldwide prevalence of ADD is 5.29 % – the highest of which is in North America. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the reason for that prevalence could be due to the difference in diagnostic practice.
ADD is a psychiatric disorder that affects behavior and is characterized by over activity, impulsiveness, and being inattentive.
Do all kids who possess these symptoms suffer from ADD? No, definitely not. The essential feature of this disorder is a persistent pattern of impulsivity, inattention, or hyperactivity.
ADD is commonly identified during preschool years, but many parents report symptoms prior to the given period. In fact, severe signs of ADD are usually diagnosed at the age of 4.
Manifestation during the toddler years (1-3 years of age) is fairly common, as well. Some might misconstrue the symptoms as part of the toddler stage when actually, they could be clear indicators of ADD. Here are ADD Symptoms in toddlers that you may not be aware of:
- Difficulty tolerating sedentary activities
Sedentary activities can be as simple as listening to the parent reading a book, sitting on a highchair or a car seat. A child with ADD would often leave his seat or will refuse to be placed in one. He or she will show signs of irritability or frustration regarding the activity.
- Consistently fussy
Toddlers are naturally energetic, but those who suffer from ADD are beyond what is commonly observed in children of similar age. The child is constantly moving about – always running around the house, climbing on to things, or jumping from things.
- Easily distracted by stimuli
A child who has ADD easily loses his focus on a certain task when someone sneezes, coughs, or speaks. Even simple environmental noises (car horns, alarms, roadwork sounds) can be a source of immediate distraction for him. Even the simplest of stimuli will throw the child off from what he is doing.
- Cannot listen to directions
Toddlers with ADD have a harder time (some don’t listen at all) listening to simple directions such as “put the sippy cup on the table, put your toy back in the basket, or throw the paper in the trash.” He doesn’t pay attention to requests given to him.
- Cannot cooperate with others
When playing with other kids, does he cooperate? The child who suffers from ADD is usually aggressive and bossier than most. He is intrusive with his others’ activities. He doesn’t stop even if the parent tells him to, or sometimes, begs him to. He also doesn’t share his toys with others, or even wait for his turn during playtime. He will usually just take the toy and play with it even if he is reprimanded to do so.
- Jumps tasks
The child would easily go from one task to another, and doesn’t finish the activity before moving on to the next. He also avoids tasks that require mental effort like building blocks, coloring books, and other activities that involves problem-solving.
Another key ADD symptom is constant fidgeting. It is accompanied by excessive noise or by tapping a toy on the table or any object that the child is holding.
Early detection by a qualified specialist (pediatric psychiatrist or neurologist) is very important. The real cause as to why ADD occurs remains unknown. You have to know this important fact: ADD is a chronic disorder that is not due to bad parenting. It has underlying factors that are beyond the borders of a parent’s ability to discipline his/her child.
Data gathered from:
DSM-IV-TR (a revised 4th Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder) Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing by Videbeck