The Difference a Year Makes: The Dangers of Early Schooling

When starting school, younger children are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD
By Ahmad Amirali

Last Week, a parent came to me and shared that Inara (made-up name) lacks concentration in class-tasks and her class teacher always complains about Inara’s lack of concentration in classwork. This phenomenon is called ‘Distractibility’ and is common nowadays in both Eastern and Western countries. Commonly, these symptoms associated with the term ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), according to which, students continuously forget things, make careless mistakes and seem like they are daydreaming in sessions and activities.

It is essential to know, both parents and teachers, that these are learning issues a child might encounter during their early school phase. Developing countries like Pakistan, these symptoms often considered by parents as a ‘mental disorder’ which is correct in technical medical terms. However, it’s hard for the parents to absorb the fact that their child has some mental disorder. In reality, around 20% of children in the USA diagnosed with the mental disorder, and it’s ordinary nowadays. According to Ellen Braaten, Director, Learning and Emotional Assessment Program, Massachusetts General Hospital

“Still, for some parents, the idea that their child has a mental disorder is tough to absorb. They may worry that their child will be stigmatised. Mental illness is more common than many people realise even in kids. Mental illnesses are health issues. Heredity, brain chemistry, stress and environmental factors all can play a role. When parents are concerned about labels, I tell them that the terms people may use for ADHD don’t matter. With support, kids with ADHD can be just as successful as kids who don’t face those challenges”.

When starting school, younger children are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD – Harvard Study

The critical question is, what causes ADHD among children? According to the recent findings, published Nov 28, 2018, in The New England Journal of Medicine, “children born in August and enrolled at one birthday (Sep 1) are 30 per cent more likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis, compared with their slightly older peers enrolled in the same grade”.

The findings of the study suggest that one f the possibility of having that large number of kids diagnosed with ADHD, maybe, because these kids are happening to be immature as compared to their older peers and classmates during the period of elementary school. According to the study author Anupama Jena “As children grow older, small differences in age equalise and dissipate over time, but behaviourally speaking, the difference between a 6-year-old and a 7-year-old could be quite pronounced. A normal behaviour may appear unusual relative to the child’s peer group.”

The complete article and research can be reviewed from here

How the Issue of ADHD can be identified and handled

If your child is having an issue focusing on the class sessions or having a distracting problem, firstly it is essential to know that is common among children. The following are some steps you can do to handle the situation mindfully:

  1. Start observing your child and having active reflections of your child’s behaviour with time and date.
  2. Talk to your child’s school/class teacher and share the concerns and your reflection with them. In this way, you can help give active data to the professional teacher who is trained (most of the time) in handling such issues.
  3. You may ask the teacher for an informal arrangement that may help your child in the classroom, such as seating at the front of the room and away from windows and doors etc.
  4. Maintain your child’s day and night time table to familiarise them with the deadline strategy to complete any tasks. In this way, they may able to start concentrating and handled the stress level during exams or classroom evaluations.
  5. There is no harm to consulting any child specialist/therapist, audiologist, neurologist, psychiatrist, developmental-behavioural paediatrician or speech pathologist to look into the matter professionally.

Above all, the most critical step is too see-through from your child’s eyes. Sometimes, children with such symptoms find it hard to express their emotions or difficulties which may affect their confidence and self-enthusiasm. It is quite essential first to listen and understand the silent messages which your child might give you before reaching on any judgement.

Do your child show symptoms? How you handled it? Please share in the comments below and help others by your examples.

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