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ADHD Assessment Timing

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#1 afterlaughter

Posted 23 August 2019 - 11:17 PM

My daughter turns 4 next month. Her Dad has ADHD and still needs medication daily. He was diagnosed at 5 with ADHD and also language delay. My daughter definitely does not have the language issues but I strongly suspect she has ADHD. Would it be to soon to speak to her GP about the next steps for assessment for ADHD at her 4 year old vaccination appointment? I am struggling with many of the behaviours and see her issues will really impact her learning soon. I have had multiple meetings with daycare because of the behaviour issues we also see them at home, swimming lessons and Gymnastics. Anyone been assessed before 5?

#2 xxyzed

Posted 23 August 2019 - 11:52 PM

It is not too early to seek assessment as if nothing else the process will refer you on to other services that can help with the difficulties being experienced. I do know of people that have been diagnosed at 5 and prescribed medication but it is normally quite extreme cases where they are a danger to themselves. The more normal age for diagnosis and medication is 7 as this is when the demands of school increase and the gap to other children more noticeable and can no longer be put down to normal developmental age differences.

#3 IamtheMumma

Posted 23 August 2019 - 11:56 PM

I would definitely speak to your GP. Early intervention can help so much.

Some paeds are reluctant to diagnose young, which means the kids go to school and it is a nightmare for child, parent and teacher and then you have a kid who hates school.

I've almost finished watching this. I'm nodding along to a lot of it.


#4 TheWanderer

Posted 24 August 2019 - 12:13 AM

Don't wait, get on it.  Given you know ADHD, your gut feeling regarding early signs are probably on the money.  If is ADHD then it isn't going away any time soon and you will kick yourself if at age 10 you end up with the diagnosis because you know treatment could have started sooner.  Do some research for a pead in the local area who is known for specialising in the condition.  I would also gather some evidence, videos, examples of work, etc and make sure you can explain the specific issues you are observing very clearly, then off to the GP to get the ball rolling.

#5 ekbaby

Posted 24 August 2019 - 09:27 AM

In my experience - DD now 4.5 years - no they did not initiate formal assessment for ADHD at this age. DD has language delay (which has responded well to speech therapy) and has been seen by paed since about 2.5 years. Had daycare raise concerns around attention, understanding, ability to interact. At around 3.5 years paed said she has “ADHD symptoms” (something like 9/10 of the criteria) but said to hold off on the formal assessment as its unreliable at this age, that medication is rarely used in under 5s, and that parenting strategies can be initiated regardless of formal diagnosis.
She will see paed again before starting school.
Just because there is not a diagnosis doesn’t mean you can’t start therapies etc though
DD was referred to OT though personally I found them a waste of time and was better off doing a tiny bit of reading myself about giving DD lots of sensory stimulation (she is a seeker and a mover/fidgeter) and incorporate that into home/daycare.
Daycares concerns about DD have reduced rather than increased though. As her language improved she was able to do things like listen to a story and talk with teacher about it  (yes still fidgety she has her special cushion to play with while she sits, and still a very active child - but different from when she literally just ran around the daycare all day in her own world and couldn’t sit down for even 1 minute or participate in any group activities)
Perhaps if daycare concerns were escalating (eg exclusion, violence) the paed would be more inclined to do more
Definitely speak to GP, get referral for allied health (eg psychologist) but if they don’t want to start formal assessment yet it is still worthwhile getting help

#6 ekbaby

Posted 24 August 2019 - 09:30 AM

PS when going to GP definitely get daycare to write a letter explaining what they are seeing/their concerns
IMO health professionals take daycare concerns more seriously (rightly or wrongly) I guess because daycare see other children also so can compare to the norm

#7 MayaTheGrinch

Posted 24 August 2019 - 11:00 AM

See we had the opposite experience of ekbaby. We saw a pead and neuropsychologist at 4.5 and he was flagged as highly probably adhd. My youngest though is/was on the more severe end of the spectrum and highly inattentive (not really impulsive, but hyper and sooooooooo inattentive and Distracted). We did 4-6 months of intervention with an OT and behaviour therapist to see if therapy alone would help and had some observations which went back to the pead. But at 5 it was decided that medication was really the main way forward. Because the way things going he was completely incapable of learning in the classroom or anywhere really. DS wasn’t at daycare when this assents process was happening though and I wonder if that made things a bit easier. He was at 4yr kindy at school for a 5 day fortnight (WA system) and the teacher he had their usually taught older kids and picked it up as being unusual compared to “normal” kids. So she wrote a report that helped. This is because adhd has to be demonstrated as being in multiple environments.

I would go to the gp and get a referral to a developmental pead. Make sure it’s one who is well recommend if possible. And then start gathering information for the appointment, as waitlists for good developmental peads are long. Don’t be surprised to have to wait a minimum of 6months. 9-12 is more realistic.

Also try seeing an OT. Sometimes they can the key person who helps support intervention and they do a lot of work around not just sensory stuff but adapting environments and working with kids of regulation skills. Actually it was an OT that first pinpointed attention was an issue with my youngest (she was seeing my oldest who is autistic and has adhd, so I didn’t really know what NT was).

#8 Elizabethandfriend

Posted 24 August 2019 - 11:16 AM

ADHD was flagged for my son at just turned 4.  He also had language delay.  He had a psych assessment and speech assessment through ASD assessment funding.  He doesn't have ASD but has ADHD and traits of ASD.

We didn't pursue a formal diagnosis of ADHD until he was in Grade 1 when he also started medication.  Because of the language delay and strong family history I don't see any reason not to have some form of assessment now - even if its annual reviews with a paediatrician to monitor how she is travelling.

#9 José

Posted 24 August 2019 - 12:33 PM

it would be pretty unusual to get an ADHD diagnosis at age 4. one of the main treatments for ADHD is medication and its rare that would be prescribed  before the age of 6.
having said that if you have concerns id be seeking assessmemt and support now. perhaps psychology and OT initially while on paed waitlist.

#10 BeAwesome

Posted 24 August 2019 - 01:22 PM

I was told 'likely, but come back in a year' at 5, and got a diagnosis at 6.  We did OT in the meantime, and for the year after.  She's nearly 8 now, and doing well, on meds and lots of physical activity.

#11 TheWanderer

Posted 24 August 2019 - 07:04 PM

View PostJosé, on 24 August 2019 - 12:33 PM, said:

it would be pretty unusual to get an ADHD diagnosis at age 4

It wasn't an issue for us.  We had a diagnosis and meds at 4 without any issues.  The outward signs were pretty conclusive though so there was pretty much no questions over the diagnosis.

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