There are few things scarier for a parent of an early years school pupil than when they are called up by their child’s school to come and discuss behavioural issues and the suggestion is made to get them reviewed by a clinical specialist. and even worse when that leads to a diagnosis and medication for ADHD. Sadly, this has been the plight of an ever growing number of children, particularly in the US.
I think all should find the data shared in this article quite startling and food for contemplation and introspection. What it suggests, pretty strongly is that in many cases, especially concerning younger children these diagnoses are coming about for little more reason than the fact of which month the child was born in, especially if it is a boy.
This has to be added to all the other evidence (for example, see Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’) about the impact on children because of the continued arbitrary way that is educators we choose to divide them up simplistically according to there birth date throughout the education world. As time goes on, there is less and less justification for this, and more and more reasons why we should be showing the courage to explore alternatives for how classes are formed and how decisions are made about who is schooled alongside who.
When children are under the age of 8 or 9 their development is so erratic, but also in the development phases so rapid that differences of just a few months can make a big difference. Children are likely to intuitively feel those differences, but not necessarily understand them. In such circumstances, there is a strong chance that they will act out in certain ways when they feel that somehow they’re not matching up to expectations and the experiences of the rest of their class. To think that this could ultimately lead to misdiagnosis and children being wrongly drugged is quite shocking.