Study Finds Some Children Being Improperly Diagnosed With ADHD

UPDATED: Thursday September 2, 2010 8:15 PM

New research reveals that children are often wrongly diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder for simply acting their age.

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are usually diagnosed when they start school, often in the early grades of elementary school, 10TV's Tracy Townsend reported on Thursday.

In a "Journal of Health Economics" study, researchers found that those diagnoses are often wrong, because children in the same grade can be a year a part in age, so younger ones can act out more relative to their older peers.

"We don't know how prevalent misdiagnosis is; it probably occurs in some percentage, I'm sure," said Nationwide Children's Hospital Dr. Daniel Coury.

Coury is an expert on ADHD and said it is preferable to avoid diagnosing before school age, because there is a very wide range of normal behaviors in children.

"They may not be showing ADHD symptoms, but be immature, much like if they put a second grader with fifth graders, they would really stand out as not being able to sit still and do the work," Coury said.

The common signs of hyperactive and impulsive behavior in children include acting without thinking; children always on the go; and those that have a difficult time settling down.
Parents should also take note if they hear about these behaviors from teachers.

Teachers have the advantage of seeing large groups of children going through nine months of growth and development and they can identify those children who are standing out.

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