I have ADHD, but because I have usually done well in school I was not diagnosed until I went to college, when my inability to keep to the task at hand began to seriously interfere with my school performance and relationships. As a child, I was quiet and shy, and because I did not have the hyperactive type of ADHD, no one noticed my condition. Now I am concerned that my daughter, who is in kindergarten, may have the same form of ADHD. But her teacher says she’s doing well in school and has the usual number of friends even if she does have more trouble paying attention than most of her classmates. The teacher has discouraged me from having my daughter evaluated. Should I follow her advice?
Children with inattentive-type ADHD are often first identified when the work demands of school start to accelerate—by third or fourth grade. Similar to your own experience, girls are often identified late, or not at all.
You have a head start on this by already knowing a good deal about ADHD. The question now is whether your daughter’s behaviors are still in the broad range of typical for a girl in kindergarten or whether they are an early expression of ADHD.
The positive news from her teacher is that she is doing well in school and with social situations. An evaluation should be considered at any point that her behaviors start to interfere significantly with her school progress or other areas of functioning.
As you suggest, ADHD does tend to run in families, so it is especially important to keep carefully tracking your daughter’s progress. At this stage you might just want to bring your concerns to your child’s pediatrician so that you can both keep a watchful eye on the situation and actively screen for problems at regular intervals.