When do signs of ADHD first appear?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, people are born with a predisposition toward having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Symptoms may first appear in the preschool years; although, they may not appear problematic at that time. Many children in the toddler and preschool years behave impulsively, hyperactively, and have short attention spans. But once children reach elementary school, they are expected to behave in certain, proper ways. Most children are able to sit still, listen to adults, and follow directions well by age 6. Children who continue to display symptoms of impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention in the elementary years and beyond may be referred for ADHD testing and treatment.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Signs of ADHD often appear early, between ages three and six, although they can first appear when your child is older. While most kids are extremely energetic and can’t seem to sit still for more than five minutes, ADHD is defined as age and developmentally inappropriate inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that interferes with function at work, school, and in social situations. So, if you notice that your child gets distracted more quickly than other kids his age, frequently acts more out of control than his classmates, or seems to space out more frequently, you may want to get him evaluated for ADHD.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.