Not ADHD, but youngest in class?

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Not ADHD, but youngest in class?
Tue, 08-17-2010 - 2:23pm

USA Today came out with an article that a study has found that maybe 1 million children could have been misdiagnosed with ADHD because they are the youngest in their class, here is a link to the story:

Stories like these worry me, that it could cause parents to think that their child is not ADHD and will blame it on their age.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2005
Sun, 08-22-2010 - 12:03am

All of my kids have ADHD, two only have inattentive type, and two are inattentive and hyper both. They were all young kindergartners. I acknowledge that my 15yo dd and 11yo ds were/are socially immature, but they're also on the autism spectrum, so I don't know that they're representative of "typical" ADHD kids. They were "teacher's pet" in school since they were not hyper, sat in their seats, did their work, and followed the rules.

My hyper 13yo ds was not necessarily immature in kindergarten, tho' he's always been a bit of a class clown. His teachers occasionally commented on ds silliness, but ds kept it in check enough that he never got into trouble for it and teachers liked him. Ds has always made friends easily and has been very social. He repeated kindy for academics, but he's now in the gifted classes.

My hyper 7yo dd has always been THE youngest in her school classes since her b-day is only a few days before the school cut-off. She has always been considered mature for her age and has always been ahead academically. She is also very social and makes friends easily.

I don't think my kids' ADHD is an issue of age maturity.

I did see an interesting article recently that explored a link between colic and subsequent ADHD. Both of my hyper kids were very colicky!

Avatar for ralenth
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 08-21-2010 - 11:15pm

I didn't read the article. I have two sons - one born in July, and one with ADHD. They are nothing alike. It is crystal clear which one has ADHD (with and without medication). I really hate hearing how over diagnosed ADHD is. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but that doesn't change anything for my son. He has a very real problem.

I knew from the age of 2 that there was something different about my son - that he wasn't like other boys his own age. But the ped consistently brushed me off. He struggled in preschool (but made progress), struggled in kindergarten. It wasn't until 1st grade that we got him tested. 1st grade was an utter failure for him.

Anyway, all that doesn't really matter. He's on medication, which has made a world of difference for him - and he knows (and has told me) how much it helps him. That's what matters. When his teacher told me this past year that he was no longer a discipline problem - that she considered him a "typical second grader" that's really what matters for us.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2004
Thu, 08-19-2010 - 11:47am

Part of ADHD IS acting immature, IMO. I was constantly telling therapists that my son was behind socially by a couple of years, and they all poo-pooed me. I knew it was going to cause problems when he started school, yet they would give him no help because he wasn't behind academically.

I like how we are doing school now - combination of homeschooling and a few classes a couple days a week. The classes are multi-age, so my son doesn't "stick out" so much, they just think that he is younger than he is and let it go because that is how the program is built.

We diagnosed last winter - 2nd grade, age 7 - so that I would know how to teach him best.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 08-18-2010 - 10:11am

It's interesting--the full articles aren't available online without paying, so I can't see how big the difference is youngest/oldest, but if it's significant, then, yeah, interesting.

Not that I don't agree *completely* that I'm tired of people implying my son is misdiagnosed. I only wish, comes to mind!

But if it's there possibly some ADHD enhancer in having a summer child, then? Or is it truly just the stupid Connors, etc., forms that people fill out are getting skewed by age considerations. Would tend to indicate that alone as a bad diagnostic tool (we did it, but as a screening, not as a diagnosis!), which was pretty clear already. Pity THAT isn't the emphasis in the articles...

I'll say this: For my kid? Diagnosis summer between 1st & 2nd; we started meds before 2nd grade. But, in 1st, he was on what I'd call the bubble, he hadn't become sufficiently unlike his peers to be a solid diagnosis yet. SOME of that was very much because ADHD symptoms are normal behavior at the younger ages, and it's a matter of degree (oh, and, he's primarily inattentive, so it's lots harder to diagnose vs. a kid who is always out of their seat or whatever!). But he's very much ADHD. Can see the med difference, etc., etc.

And I'll agree with the person above me who says that it's not a few months behind socially, it's years--it hasn't always been quite so bad, I suppose, but basically, he's around the same as his 3-yrs-younger brother.

And my youngest IS one of the youngest in his grade too, but not ADHD (though we keep wondering, that's more about us being human!).

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2006
Tue, 08-17-2010 - 10:53pm

I agree that all this article does is make people think it's not a real problem. I have to struggle with that enough as it is. My own mother keeps telling me that DS doesn't have a problem, he's just very tall for his age and therefore we are expecting him to act older than he is!

Our son has a July birthday and is one the younger kids in his class. But his maturity level is not a few months behind the other kids, its more like a few years behind the other kids. He is 6 and we also have a 2 1/2 year old and some days its like having two toddlers! I certainly hope this article does not push parents to wait to have their child diagnosed. It is so hard on their self-esteem to continue to struggle in school, with friends and at home.


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-18-2008
Tue, 08-17-2010 - 9:19pm
I can't tell you how many times people tell me my DD is just "immature" and needs to grow up emotionally. Happens the beginning of almost every school year. Then, they spend more time with her and by March realize there is more going on (by then it is too late for them to help, btw). So frustrating to see this stuff. Teachers (support staff and family and friends) need to trust the parents instinct. We are the only ones that spend enough time with our kids to understand that there is more than just immaturity going on with them. DD is the youngest in class (with bday in mid August) and we thought about holding her back but she is too smart and the principal told us she'd be bored by 3rd grade. This past year (1st grade) her teach actually tried to convince us to hold her back to catch up her maturity level. She had a horrendous school year and never received a grade below a B+ (she cried 3+ times every day), but was still able to do the work and get good grades. People should not be discouraged to do what they can to help their kids. DH is ADD and never had help growing up and man, does he have issues now!
Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Tue, 08-17-2010 - 2:53pm

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2008
Tue, 08-17-2010 - 2:47pm

I hate seeing stories like this because it feeds into the whole "ADHD is overdiagnosed" garbage we have to deal with already. What caught my eye in this story is that the youngest kids were more likely to take Ritalin but there's no mention of it not working right. If they're misdiagnosed, then Ritalin would not give the desired results -- the kids would be hyper and the parents would no doubt stop Ritalin. Plain and simple. So, I tend to agree more with the theory that it's the older kids who are underdiagnosed rather than younger ones being overdiagnosed.

We started seeking help with our son when he was three. His ADHD was off the charts and he was kicked out of preschool. Of course, we couldn't get real help then, but did start therapy. At four, we finally could try ADHD medication and that's when his life and all of ours in the family were transformed. Our son is one of the oldest in his class (not red-shirted, just born in February) and I don't think it means much of anything. I think the earlier kids can get help, the better.

Our son at seven still remembers being kicked out of preschool and the rejection associated with it. If he hadn't started medication at four, he would have faced a lot more scarring rejection, no doubt, because he just couldn't fit in to society. People (and adults, big-time) are NOT kind to kids who don't meet behavioral expectations.