From what I have heard and read, that is often the case. A parent might be diagnosed after their child(ren) are diagnosed, because the parent realizes that they have always had the same or similar traits that led to the child(ren)'s diagnosis.
I’m my case, none of my kids have been diagnosed as ADHD. (I have three biological children who each show some ADHD symptoms, but none seem to be very hampered by their traits, so my wife and I haven’t had them evaluated.)
I chose to get myself evaluated because I have continually dealt with the same attention-related issues at work and at home (and at school, when I was in school).
When I decided to get evaluated, I wrote a note on my phone to detail my reasons for doing so, in which I wrote the following:
- Difficulty with focus, concentration, decision-making, remembering to do things, poor task management skills, easily distracted (“shiny…”/“Squirrel!”), somewhat impulsive, time management issues, very often late, incapable of multitasking
…As well as this commentary to myself about the feedback that I’d been getting about my work performance:
- Negative effect on quality of work, amount of work I’m able to complete. Negative feedback that I need to improve: “pace of work” and “attention to detail” (although they haven’t told me what criteria I am being judged by).
I previously thought that I just needed to develop better self-discipline, learn better time management and organizing skills, and memory techniques.
In all my life, nobody ever outright suggested that I have ADHD. A few people who either have ADHD traits themselves (whether they were diagnosed as ADHD or not) had pointed out that they and I had similar traits. This especially went for the distractibility.
My distractibility was perhaps my most frequent “tell”, because I would often change topics 5 times within the first 10 minutes of a conversation. But my issues with time management, organization, planning & prioritization, and working memory are what seem to have had a negative effect on me in college and career. It’s not they I can’t do things (I can do a lot of things because I am generally smart, capable, and highly adaptive), it is just that I can’t do the necessary things consistently enough.