Children who are amongst the youngest in their school year may be incorrectly diagnosed with ADHD because their immaturity is mistaken for signs of the condition, according to a new Canadian study.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia looked at nearly 100,000 children between the ages of six and 12 years in the Canadian province to ascertain how likely they were to be diagnosed with ADHD.
The province has a 31 December cut-off point for entry into the school year, so those born in December could be nearly a year younger than some of their classmates. The study found that boys born in December were 39 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, and 48 percent more likely to be prescribed medication for the condition than children born in January the same year.
“Our study suggests younger, less mature children are inappropriately being labeled and treated,” says the study’s lead author Richard Morrow. “It is important not to expose children to potential harms from unnecessary diagnosis and use of medications.”
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