Wednesday, March 7, 2012

ADHD: The Youngest Students in a Class

The youngest children in a class are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than older children in the same class, a new study finds, and in some cases may not deserve the diagnosis.

Researchers led by Richard Morrow, a health research analyst at the Therapeutics Initiative at University of British Columbia, looked at ADHD diagnosis rates depending on whether children were born right before or after the school enrollment cutoff date.

In British Columbia, the cutoff date for kindergarten or first grade is Dec. 31, which means that kids born in December are the youngest in their class, while those born in January are the oldest.

The researchers found that children born in December were 39% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and 48% more likely to be receiving medication to treat it than children in the same class born in January.

In the study, which included data on 937, 943 children aged 6 to 12 over an 11-year period, Morrow and his colleagues also found that the rate of ADHD diagnoses increased steadily with each successive month from January to December.

The fact that there was such a difference in the rate of ADHD diagnoses simply based on children’s birthdates, all other things being equal, strongly suggests that less mature students may have been inappropriately being labeled with an attention deficit disorder.

“What is clear from our study is that younger children in a classroom are more likely to receive a diagnosis of ADHD and drugs to treat that ADHD,” says Morrow. “But their relative maturity should come into play.”

”Something to keep in mind when we look at behavioural problems is whether the behaviour relates to differences in age and maturity.”
Read More of this article here: ADHD: Why the Youngest Students in a Class Are Most Likely to Be Diagnosed

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