London: A new study has shown that summer babies are more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADHD) at school because their relative immaturity confuses doctors.
With most Kindergartens opting for a birthday cut-off around September 1, this means that babies born in July and August are most likely to face an ADHD diagnosis.
However, the researchers behind the study dismissed the idea that children born in summer were more prone to the disorder.
The sharp difference in diagnosis levels – children born a few days before the cut-off are 25 per cent more likely to be told they have ADHD than those born a week later – suggests that the problem lies in how doctors and teachers perceive the behaviour of pupils.
"This indicates that there are children who are diagnosed, or not, because of something other than underlying biological or medical reasons,” the Telegraph quoted Dr Melinda Morrill of North Carolina State University, who led the study, as saying.
"We believe that younger children may be mistakenly diagnosed as having ADHD, when in fact they are simply less mature.”
The latest research, based on an analysis of two US health surveys and a health insurance claims database, is published in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Health Economics.