When A Child Starts School Can Impact An ADHD Diagnosis

By Honor Whiteman

When A Child Starts School Can Impact An ADHD DiagnosisAccording to a new study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, the age at which a child starts school can influence the likelihood of a attention deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnosis.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is estimated to affect around 6.4 million children aged 4-17 in the US, making it one of the most common childhood conditions.

ADHD is characterized by poor attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. It is most commonly diagnosed at the age of 7, and boys are more likely to be diagnosed with the condition than girls.

The causes of ADHD remain unclear, though some studies have suggested that it may be down to genes, use of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs during pregnancy, exposure to environmental toxins – such as lead – at a young age or brain injury.

Now, Dr. Mu-Hong Chen, of the National Yang-Ming University in Taipei, Taiwan, and colleagues suggest a diagnosis of ADHD may be related to the age at which they start school.

Risk of ADHD diagnosis higher in August-born schoolchildren
To reach their findings, the team analyzed 1997-2011 data involving 378,881 children aged 4-17 years.

Fast facts about ADHD

1. Between 2003-2011, the number of children diagnosed with ADHD in the US increased from 7.8% to 11%
2. Boys are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls
3. Children with a history of ADHD have almost three times as many peer problems as those without a history of ADHD.

The researchers assessed the prevalence of ADHD diagnosis among the children and whether they were prescribed medication for the condition.

They also looked at what age the children were enrolled in school, taking into account the annual cut-off date for school entry in Taiwan: August 31st.

The team compared ADHD prevalence and medication prescription among the youngest children in a grade (those who were born in August) with the older children in a grade (those born in September).

The researchers found that preschool and elementary school children born in August were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and receive medication for the disorder, compared with those born in September.

Adolescents who were born in August, however, were at no higher risk of an ADHD diagnosis than those born in September.

“This result may imply that as age and maturity level increased in teenage years, the influence of birth month would have less of an impact on ADHD diagnosis and treatment,” say the authors. Read More…


Continuing Education Courses on ADHD


This introductory course, from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), gives a brief update on the various facets of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It details the core symptoms, including behavioral manifestations of each, notes what is known about its causes, and lists the components of a comprehensive diagnostic protocol. It also describes a multifaceted treatment approach that includes combined medication, psychotherapy, and behavioral therapy. The course includes sections on comorbid disorders, dealing with ADHD at school, and treating it in teens and adults.


This is a test only course (book not included). The book (or e-book) can be purchased from Amazon. This CE test is based on the book “Treating Explosive Kids: The Collaborative Problem-Solving Approach” (2006, 246 pages). This book provides a detailed framework for effective, individualized intervention with highly oppositional children and their families. Many vivid examples and Q&A sections show how to identify the specific cognitive factors that contribute to explosive and noncompliant behavior, remediate these factors, and teach children and their adult caregivers how to solve problems collaboratively. The book also describes challenges that may arise in implementing the model and provides clear and practical solutions. Two special chapters focus on intervention in schools and in therapeutic/restrictive facilities.


Section I of this course involves a detailed discussion of the many ways that a lifetime of ADHD can affect a person’s life. This is important information for all clinicians working with adults who have ADHD, partly for their own understanding, but also to help clients understand their own ADHD. It will include descriptions of situations that can obscure ADHD and will highlight the executive, academic, occupational, psychological, and social aspects of adult functioning that are impacted by ADHD. The second section involves educating clients about the many ways that ADHD has affected their life trajectories. This goes beyond the obvious academic difficulties and includes current functioning as well, offering less pejorative explanations for their weaknesses. Included are techniques for involving family members, creating an ADHD-friendly lifestyle, and finding a better fit in the classroom and the workplace. This education is a crucial first step in the treatment of ADHD in adults and builds the foundation for medication, coaching, and therapy.


Clinicians and teachers working with students struggling at grade level are committed to raising their students’ achievement potential by creating opportunities to learn. In order to accomplish this, they need to learn new techniques that can help encourage discouraged students – particularly those who have different ways of learning – by supporting and motivating them without enabling self-defeating habits. This course will provide strategies and techniques for helping students minimize the patterns of “learned helplessness” they have adopted, appreciate and maximize their strengths, develop a growth mindset, value effort and persistence over success, view mistakes as opportunities to learn, and develop a love of learning that will help them take personal responsibility for their school work.


Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists; the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).