Younger Students More Likely to Receive ADHD Diagnosis Than Peers A recent study links younger relative age in school children to an increased likelihood of an attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis. In the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, researchers from the University of Nottingham (England) and the University of Turku (Finland) looked at nationwide population-based registries of children born ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   January 01, 2018
Younger Students More Likely to Receive ADHD Diagnosis Than Peers
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Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   January 01, 2018
Younger Students More Likely to Receive ADHD Diagnosis Than Peers
The ASHA Leader, January 2018, Vol. 23, 15. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB2.23012018.15
The ASHA Leader, January 2018, Vol. 23, 15. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB2.23012018.15
In the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, researchers from the University of Nottingham (England) and the University of Turku (Finland) looked at nationwide population-based registries of children born in Finland between 1991 and 2004 and diagnosed with ADHD from age 7 onward.
When compared with the oldest children in the school year (children born between January and April), younger children were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than their older same-year peers. Younger boys were 26 percent more likely and younger girls were 31 percent more likely to receive a diagnosis.

Study authors recommend that parents and teachers keep a child’s “relative age” in mind when referring for an ADHD assessment.

Researchers also reported that for children younger than 10, this likelihood increased over time. In data collected 2004–2011, younger children (born May to August) were 37 percent more likely to be diagnosed, and children born in September to December were 64 percent more likely to be diagnosed than relative-age peers.
Study authors recommend that parents and teachers keep a child’s “relative age” in mind when referring for an ADHD assessment.
“With an age variation of up to 12 months in the same class, teachers and parents may misattribute a child’s immaturity,” says lead author Kapil Sayal of the University of Nottingham. “This might lead to younger children in the class being more likely to be referred for an assessment for ADHD.”
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January 2018
Volume 23, Issue 1