ADHD is one of the most common brain conditions in children. ADHD is short name for attention deficit hyperactive disorder. Although the symptoms of ADHD are more easily recognizable in older children, the condition is difficult to be identified in toddlers. This is because generally toddlers do have difficulty in paying attention.
ADHD is not just behavior limited to toddlers. The condition can also extend in older children, teenagers and adulthood. Hence it is necessary to know and recognize the symptoms during toddler age. 2 to 3 years old children are referred as toddlers.
The exact cause is not known but several factors such as hereditary, changes in brain chemical, environmental factors or brain injury is suspected. The symptoms of ADHD can be efficiently managed with behavior therapy.
Risk Factors Of ADHD In Toddlers
There is no specific reason known cause for ADHD, but there are several risk factors that have been suspected to cause this condition.
- Hereditary: Studies have revealed there is link of ADHD occurring in family. This means there is a genetic aspect underlying this condition.
- Abnormality in brain chemicals: In ADHD, the brain development may be at slower pace. There may be low level of dopamine, a brain chemical which is involved in regulating mood and attention.
- Environmental factors: Use of alcohol, tobacco, exposure to toxins in environment during pregnancy can affect the fetus inside the womb. This may lead to brain problem such as ADHD in toddlers and children.
- Brain injury: Although less common, it is suspected to be a cause for attention deficit among patient having ADHD. Injury to brain during birth, concussion, brain tumor etc is suspected.
- Children with premature birth are also at risk of suffering from this condition.
Signs And Symptoms Of ADHD In Toddlers
The three characteristic features of ADHD are; the child is inattentive, he is extremely hyperactive and impulsive. Most of these symptoms are noticeable after the age of 4 years. It is very difficult to detect them during the toddler age between 2 and 3. There are many toddlers who are more active and energetic than children of their age. But they do not have ADHD, because they have good quality of focusing. They can sit at times for long period and solve puzzles, play with toys, look at pictures in a book.
But children with ADHD cannot sit focused in one place. Their behavior is quiet disruptive. They jump from one activity to other too quickly. This quality if persists for more than six months in more than one palace, for example at home and nursery than parents must meet the doctor. Other signs and symptoms of ADHD in toddler are as follows:
- Extremely restless children.
- They cannot sit in one place for long time. They run, jump, climb and frequently change activities.
- They are always energetic and parents find it very difficult to control them. They are always on the go.
- Talking constantly and making noises.
- Very impulsive. Although most children are impulsive to some extent. The child with ADHD is hyperactive to an extent that he can harm the surrounding. Such children can harm other children, grab things from others, hit others, run away on streets.
- Changes activities very fast. They jump from one activity to other before the last activity is finished.
- Cannot concentrate for long time.
- Toddler finds it difficult to sleep in afternoon or sit patiently in a chair while eating.
Treatment Options For ADHD In Toddlers
There is no specific treatment of ADHD in toddlers, however, medicines and change in lifestyle will help to relieve the child from its symptoms. Behavioral therapy is one such treatment that most doctors recommend. This may also be continued as the child grows older. Many times medicines are not given to toddlers as it may have several side effects. In such cases behavior therapy and natural remedies can help to manage the symptoms.
- Avoid giving the child foods that have food preservatives and artificial coloring. Certain food colorings and preservative are known to increase hyperactivity in children.
- Avoid giving chocolates to the child.
- Spend some time with your child in outdoor settings. The green surrounding will help to improve concentration in the child.