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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Helping My Hyperactive Son

09/29/1998

Question:

My son is 4 1/2 years old, he has an older sister and a younger sister, the middle boy. He is very hyper, rarely can he sit still. He kicks his legs a lot when he is excited, and is very fidgety. He is not interested in learning things he needs to know for kindergarten, nor is he very interested in playing with his toys. He mainly lays around on the floor. I have been able to have time alone with him, and he is not interested in doing anything with me. He loves doing physical things like bike riding or roller blading, but has a short attention span for quiet play. His preschool teacher does not find a problem with him at school. I was at his school recently and during storytime he was fidgety, playing with his mouth. Am I doing something wrong, or does he have ADD with hyperactivity? He does not eat a lot of sweets, and has a poor diet.

Answer:

The easy answer is, "Yes, he could have ADHD." The more complex answer is that there could be several things going on or he could be acting appropriately for his age. It is not possible to tell on the net. However, a few educational points: Some children with ADD/ADHD show their "symptoms" more at home than at school, others do the opposite. That in itself does not define things. His teacher may be quite correct or may not have enough knowledge about ADHD in young bright children to give a good evaluation. The disinterest with toys at home combined with your legitimate concerns suggests a reason for evaluation. Speak with your son's family doctor or pediatrician about your concerns.

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Response by:

Susan Louisa Montauk, MD
Formerly Professor of Family Medicine
University of Cincinnati