School children are wrongly diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) just because they're the youngest in their class, reports a new study. The findings of the study are published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
ADHD is a chronic condition which includes attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.
‘A new study finds that few teachers mistakenly think a childs immaturity for ADHD symptoms.’
Across the globe, some teachers are mistaking the immaturity of younger children in their class for ADHD. Although teachers do not diagnose it, they are often the first to suggest a child may have ADHD, Xinhua news agency quoted Martin Whitely, a researcher from the Curtin University in Australia, as saying.
The findings highlighted the importance of teachers, doctors, and parents being aware of the impact of relative age and giving younger children the extra time they need to mature, said Jon Jureidini, Professor at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
Researchers examined more than 14 million children from US, Germany, Israel, Norway, and Australia, and found it was more common for the younger children in a classroom to be diagnosed and medicated with ADHD.
"Mistaking perfectly normal age-related immaturity for ADHD is just one of the many problems with the label. Children who are sleep deprived, bullied, have suffered abuse or have a host of other problems, often get labeled ADHD," said Jureidini.
"Not only does this result in them getting potentially harmful drugs they do not need, but their real problems don't get identified and addressed."
There are no biological markers or physical tests for ADHD, and the teachers' reports can form much of the basis for the diagnoses, Whitely noted.