ADHD and your toddler: A guide for Filipino parents

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Learn how to spot the symptoms of ADHD in your toddler, and discover ways for dealing with it.

ADHD or energetic

Does your toddler have ADHD? Read on to find out.

Nowadays, more and more kids are being diagnosed with ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Here we discuss how you can spot possible signs of ADHD in your child, and how you may help them.

Signs of ADHD in toddlers

  • A toddler with ADHD will have difficulty finishing a task, even the simplest ones. A toddler’s attention span is short, to say the least, but someone with ADHD will be looking to the next task before even starting the present one. They don’t sit still for a short story or don’t have the attention span to help stir a bowl of cookie dough.
  • A toddler with ADHD will likely have a more difficult time in following instructions and processing information to the extent others his/her age normally do.
  • Toddlers with ADHD will often talk constantly just for the sake of talking. No, this doesn’t mean the toddler who is “makulit” or asks a million questions or repeatedly asks ‘why’ has ADHD. The child with ADHD will usually ramble on and on about whatever comes into his/her head and repeat things over and over.

Is it hard for your child to stay put in one place? He or she may have ADHD.

  • A toddler with ADHD will also be constantly on the move — “over sa likot,” as we would say in the vernacular. Jumping on the bed or off the furniture, fidgeting, wiggling, playing with their food… they are simply incapable of sitting still.
    NOTE: There is a difference between a toddler who can’t sit still because he/she is excited to play outside and a toddler who can’t sit still all the time.
  • Children with ADHD are often the most creative and imaginative. Their thoughts are on rapid-fire mode and they want to act on all of them. They will often be the ones to think of wild stories to tell, draw pictures of imaginary animals and will be able to multi-task as they get older.
  • Children with ADHD will hear what you say even though they seem to be in another universe.

A doctor’s diagnosis

Parents, take note: One of the worst things you can do is to self-diagnose your child.

While some children younger than age 7 have been diagnosed with ADHD, these cases are the exception to the rule.


If you suspect that your child has ADHD, it may be best to wait until she is older before seeking an official diagnosis.

The reason? It takes time to correctly diagnose ADHD, because the behaviors associated with this condition are evaluated over a period of time.

Doctors understand that when a toddler goes through a phase of hyperactivity it doesn’t necessarily mean they have ADHD. Generally, it means they’re just going through a phase, and that they’ll grow out of it.

Dr. Ben Martin, in his article, “How is ADHD Diagnosed?“, says:

“The official diagnostic criteria for ADHD state that the symptoms must occur beyond the extent that is normal for the person’s age, and must occur in a variety of different situations (e.g., not just school). For a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms must also have appeared before the age of 7 (for childhood ADHD), and have continued for at least 6 months.”

Thus, the best person to consult if you suspect your child has ADHD is still a medical professional — a pediatrician or psychologist.

Special Needs Learning Disabilities Learning Disabilties and Disorders ADD & ADHD