Can Early Schooling Lead to Erroneous ADHD Diagnosis?

Recent data estimates highlight about age gaps, particularly in the initial stage of a child’s schooling, to make a huge difference when it comes to understanding their behavior.

Early Schooling

However, the larger question remains!

Could being younger than the other pupils in the class risk a child being subjected to a false diagnosis of ADHD? A recent study suggests just that. 30% of the youngsters were likelier to receive a positive ADHD diagnosis during their initial years.

However, this doesn’t increase or change the risk factor if a child could develop attention deficit hyperactivity disorder during the course of his/her later life.


Suppose your child is born a month before the schools cut off time for school admissions, s/he could be among the youngest in the batch. Researchers highlight about these small age gaps making a huge difference to the behavior and attention levels of the child.

Timothy Layton explains, “Practitioners should always take a child’s age into account whilst considering their peer age. At times, behaviors that are seen to be normal might also appear anomalous if their older peers are also involved.”

The research team highlights about the consequences that creep in when not factoring the age of the child which, many a time, leads to overdiagnosis.

ADHD can be defined as a brain disorder that is often marked by inattentiveness resulting in a child being hyperactive whilst experiencing an overflow of impulses.

Although ADHD is seen to be common among students in the US, children might not always carry it to their adulthood. As per the data available with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, children with ADHD often have behavioral issues in addition to being overly active.

Researchers based out of the University of Iowa have indicated the jump in ADHD cases from 6% in the last decade to 10% in the present decade.

There was a 50% increase in young children being diagnosed with ADHD when compared to early 2007. Does it mean a false diagnosis of ADHD and should it be a concern?

Authorities at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention highlight the fact that there is no single test for ADHD. Rather, the practitioner has to depend on a myriad of factors in addition to the medical exam that the child is subjected to.

To understand in depth about how children birth date could be a factor in risking them to false ADHD diagnosis, researchers reviewed a large chunk of insurance data which involved students from 50 odd states. These children were born anywhere between 2007 and 2009.

Researchers observed there was a marginal increase in ADHD diagnosis cases in children who were just born the preceding month to the admission cutoff month of an academic year.

Nevertheless, Dr. Andrew Adesman explains, “This study has been able to explain how young children are likelier to be diagnosed on ADHD in comparison to their older peers.”

Dr. Adesman further suggests, “If parents find their children being diagnosed on ADHD, they could consider giving their child one more chance to study in the same grade. This could help the child mature in a way that could be considered more appropriate for a given age.”

Can Early Schooling Lead to Erroneous ADHD Diagnosis?
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Can Early Schooling Lead to Erroneous ADHD Diagnosis?
Can Early Schooling Lead to False ADHD Diagnosis?
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