Findings from a new study suggest that some children are more readily diagnosed with ADHD when they're among the youngest in their grade and may not need the medication they’re prescribed after all.
Researchers in Iceland tracked nearly 12,000 children born between 1994 and 1996, reports HealthDay. They looked at the children's test scores at ages 9 and 12, and examined whether they were prescribed drugs for ADHD. Children in the youngest third of their classes were 50 percent more likely than those in the oldest third to be prescribed ADHD medications.
There is widespread concern that ADHD is over-diagnosed in children who are naturally more energetic or, as this study found, simply less mature than their peers by virtue of their late birthdays. Study author Helga Zoega, a postdoctoral fellow at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, believes that that if a child is younger in comparison to their classmates, it can greatly affect their academic performance throughout childhood.
"Children behave and perform according to their own maturity level within the classroom. When evaluating whether a child has ADHD, this should be taken into account to prevent unnecessary diagnoses and prescribing of stimulants.”
Do you think your child’s late birthday plays a role in how well he does in school? Leave a comment.