Parents worry about their child being academically delayed because they are born later in the school year, and are warned that their child is also being diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) more frequently.
A new study found that thousands of children are mistakenly labeled as the condition because they are younger than their peers and therefore immature or susceptible to forgetfulness and easily distracted.
The symptoms of ADHD, according to NHS, are inattention, hyperactivity (including frequent talking) and impulsivity
monkeybusinessimages about Getty Images
The global study looked at 17 studies involving more than 14 million children, examining the relationship between the age of a child compared to their classmates and the likelihood of ADHD.
The University College London team found that the youngest children were more likely to be ostracized and treated with the disease.
The results indicate that students who develop in a normal range are labeled with the disease because they are more likely to cause classroom disturbances. Although teachers do not diagnose it, they are often the first to suggest that a child might have ADHD.
Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, a psychiatrist at UCL, said: "The diagnosis of ADHD is sometimes applied to behavior that is disturbing the classroom because the child is young for their year." Moncrieff said that the way the school system is set up means that it is inflexible and can not properly take age into account.
The study found the same results in countries with high rates of ADHD (such as the US, Canada and Iceland) and in places where ADHD diagnosis is much lower, such as Finland and Sweden. On average, this affects just over 300,000 children in the UK – or about one child in each classroom.
Symptoms of ADHD are noticed at an early age and may become more apparent when a child's circumstances change, such as when they start school. Most cases are diagnosed when children are between 6 and 12.
People with ADHD may also have additional problems, such as sleep disorders and anxiety disorders, says the NHS.
The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but the condition has been proven in families. ADHD can occur in people with intellectual abilities, although it is more common in people with learning difficulties.
How do I know if my child has ADHD?
"Children who show signs of ADHD will have a number of indicators they can grow up," Dr. Tony Lloyd, CEO of the ADHD Foundation.
"Frustration that you can not remember what you're learning at school and in life, you can quickly get angry and show exaggerated impulsive behavior."
"There are also children who daydream Homeschooling can be a major cause of home suffering. "