A new study has suggested that something as simple as the month in which your child was born could impact their risk of being diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).
The study, titled ‘ADHD or just immature?’, suggested that younger children diagnosed with the condition could actually just be ‘immature’ in comparison to their older peers in school. In this way, researchers found that the percentage of children diagnosed with ADHD can alter depending on their birth month.
Published in the Journal of Paediatrics, the study examined the data of 380,000 kids aged between four and 17 years in Taiwan. The cut-off age for starting school for these children is August 31, meaning that those kids born in August tend to be the younger students in the grade, while those born in September are typically the eldest.
After analysis, the research team found that the percentage of boys diagnosed with ADHD went from 4.5% for August-born kids to 2.8% for September-born kids. There was a similar trend for girls, with diagnoses going from 1.2% for those born in August to 0.7% for those born in September.
Commenting on the findings, leader author Dr Mu-Hong Chen said that age and maturity levels need to be taken into account by professionals before assigning treatment to little ones.
“Our findings emphasise the importance of considering the age of a child within a grade when diagnosing ADHD and prescribing medication to treat ADHD,” he said.
Significantly, the experts found that the birth month trend was not applicable among the teens they studied, further suggesting that maturity levels are an important factor when making a diagnosis.
In their study report, the experts urged health professionals to take a range of information into account before making a diagnosis of ADHD, accordingly.