Youngest kids in class are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than oldest kids, study finds

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(William Wan/ Washington Post) — Do some children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder really have the condition — or are they just young for their grade?

That is the provocative question posed by a new study looking at states with a strict Sept. 1 birth-date cutoff for school enrollment. Researchers found the youngest children in a grade — those born in August, just before the cutoff — were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD compared with those who were born the next month and became the oldest in their class.

“There’s no reason an August child and September child separated by just a couple weeks at birth would be any different. And yet, we found a big difference in diagnosis,” said Harvard Medical School’s Anupam Jena, one of the authors of the study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. (…)

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