Are Summer Babies More Likely To Have ADHD? A New Study Has Surprising Results
When parents get ready to enroll their child in school for the first time they are often faced with a very hard-line rule: If your child was born by September 1st they can enroll in kindergarten. A child born just one day later, on September 2nd, will have to wait an entire year to enroll. This means that in the same kindergarten class there may be some children almost exactly a year younger than some of their classmates. My daughter is in just this situation as a child with a late August birthday. Shortly after she started her first year of school we sent out invitations to her fourth birthday party. Just a week later she received an invitation to a classmates fifth birthday party. But is this range of ages putting summer babies at too large a disadvantage?
Schools need to have some criteria for deciding which children can enroll in school in a given year, but things can become problematic when young children nearly a year apart are all expected to learn and behave as though they are the same age. Any parent of a preschooler knows how much children grow and mature between ages 3 and 4 and again between 4 and 5. Teachers may see the younger children in the classroom, who have shorter attention spans and may have a harder time sitting still, as problematic rather than as acting appropriately for their age.
According to a new study, children who are the youngest in the classroom, those born in August, are 35% more likely to receive a diagnosis for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and be treated for the disorder. ADHD typically involves hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattention, and unfocused motor control.
Does this mean you should hold your summer baby back? Not necessarily. Many children who were born in August, including my daughter, thrive by starting school with their peers and the age difference does not have a major impact on their education. What this study does mean is that if your child is one of the youngest in his class and his teacher raises the possibility that he may have ADHD you and your pediatrician should look closely at whether an ADHD diagnosis is appropriate or whether your child is just asking his age before starting treatment. This is especially true because ADHD can be tricky to diagnose and a diagnosis is based on reports of a child symptoms of the disorder, rather a definitive test like a blood draw.
Do you feel like your child's birthdate has had an effect on their success in school?