Family Magazine

Misdiagnosis of ADHD in children-You Will Be Shocked at How Common It Is!

By Shwetashetye

Life with a toddler is always like living on the edge. Every mother I know, be it a parent of a boy or a girl, are constantly ranting about how their child is suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD in children is one of the most highly misdiagnosed disorder. I didn't know this, but my own research and a case study - ahem my daughter - made me realize this.

One fine day, me, my husband, and of course my daughter were engaged in playing with playdoh. My daughter refuses to share a mold, next snatches the one from my hand, twitches and shakes her leg constantly, and then after a good 10 mins, prances off to touch a coin in the far corner of the room. Immediately, after this incident, a state of panic grips my husband. He says, "I think N is ADHD. Not just ADHD, she is on the extreme range." Wow, could he have been any more specific to drive a mom insane?

Thus, began my research to scour the internet about what the symptoms are, age group it affects, how to identify and so on. Let me tell you something very important. Children under age 5 will always show at least 2-3 symptoms of ADHD, which can lead you to believe that your child is suffering from it. But, as per speech therapist and occupational therapists, there has to be a presence of 1-2 symptoms from a broad range of behaviors to deem a child ADHD.

There is a neat ADHD checklist available online for preliminary diagnosis of whether your child is ADHD. Again, every checklist you find will be for children above 5 years of age and specifically, the ones in school.

Toddlers are very active creatures and the only two categories you can fit them in - active and extremely active. Because we were worried about all the hype around ADHD and since my daughter isn't speaking a lot, we visited a speech therapist. There is a noted connection between hyperactivity and speech delays. She mentioned that though in toddlers, the extremely hyper ones, the speech follows, but in future they might have issues with focus. That is the reason to tame toddlers occupational therapy really helps.

But, that does not mean every toddler needs occupational therapy. I am listing a couple of activities recommended by an OT that can benefit any toddler and help them focus better.


This activity is very good for focus and increasing dexterity. Finger muscles become stronger and the child also needs to concentrate to ensure beads go through the thread.

Building Blocks/Stacking cups

This is a versatile and multiple use toy. Focusing on building a tower and maintaining a balance is key and along with it, you can also reenforce colors and big/small concept.

Pouring activities

Bring in containers of various sizes. Plates, small cups, glasses, and so on and fill them with water. Let the child pour from one container to another.

Picture puzzles

Start with two piece puzzles and do it with them with enthusiasm. This is important! You can't expect the child to focus and play while you are busy tapping away at the phone.


Let your child explore and get sensory stimulation with playdoh. The types of games you can play are endless and the creativity never ends!

For hyperactivity among toddlers, which is oh so common, another important thing to remember is that physical activity is very essential. Take them to the park, let them run! Though I am a lazy mom when it comes to taking my hyper daughter to the park, I make sure she dances and jumps around the house to keep her senses tickled.

So, relax! Every time your child jumps, shouts or throws a fit does not boil down to ADHD. Ensure you follow a routine or schedule and incorporate these activities in their schedules. You will find quite a lot of change and difference as days pass by

Misdiagnosis of ADHD in children-You will be shocked at how common it is!

Tell us in comments about any ADHD symptoms that you see in your toddler, which are a cause of concern for you.

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