by Dr. Andrew Burstiner, Focus-MD Red Bank
March and April mark the halfway point for kid’s ages when determining what grade a child should be in. Here in New Jersey, most school districts use October 1 as the cutoff date for determining a child’s grade eligibility. So, kids born in the March/April period have classmates up to half a year older or younger.
As a Pediatrician, I know that this age variability can mean a world of difference in the physical, mental and social development of children. This phenomenon has been well researched over many years, is clear to most professionals caring for and/or working with children, and has been well portrayed about 10 years ago in the Malcolm Gladwell book, Outliers.
Older children in a grade year often have a competitive advantage over their younger peers, and this advantage often continues into adolescence and adulthood. At times, the physical and mental immaturity of younger children in a class or group/team activity may lead observers to consider developmental disorders like ADHD, learning disorders or other concerns.
We at Focus-MD help families try to differentiate between an age based or maturity concern versus a potential neurodevelopment disorder like ADHD. QbTest, the FDA-cleared neuropsychiatric computer performance test, we have available in our office helps to serve this purpose. QbTest is validated from age 6, and measures core ADHD behavioral parameters for individuals in relation to validated age-matched controls and norms. In studies using QbTest in Sweden and the United Kingdom to help assess for ADHD, it was noted that almost 40% of the tested children were in the youngest children by month in the school grade. Thus, objective validated testing can help make more accurate assessments in these situations. Accuracy in assessment and diagnosis are key concerns in the Focus-MD model of care.
Please link on to the direct information regarding this issue from Qbtech, the developers of QbTest, and let us know how we can help you.
All the best,