Learning Disorder Most Likely To Affect The Youngest Children In Class, Researchers Say

News: Relatively younger children in Finnish schools were more likely to be diagnosed with a specific learning disorder by the age of 10 than their older peers. Attention‐deficit/hyperactivity disorder was found not to affect this association.

Previously many studies showed that being the youngest in the class is associated with psychiatric disorders, poor academic performance, and being bullied. However, there are no previous studies showing association between clinically diagnosed specific learning disorders and relative age in a nationwide sample.

Researchers from the University of Turku, conducted Finnish population‐based cohort study including all 388,650 children born singleton in Finland from 1996 to 2002. They used national registers to determined the cases diagnosed with specific learning disorders in specialized health care by the age of 10. Also, compared children with both learning disability diagnosis and ADHD separately from children with learning disabilities but without ADHD.

3,000 out of 400,000 were diagnosed with a specific learning disorder (in reading, writing or math) by the age of ten. Children born in December, in school districts with a December 31 cut-off date, are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with a learning disorder as those born in January. ADHD was found not to affect the association between month of birth and the likelihood of a learning disability diagnosis.

The findings of the study have important implications for clinicians to reflect on the relative age of a child when considering the possibility of a learning disorder. The study results also highlight the need for greater flexibility in school admissions for less mature children.

To Know More, You May Refer To

Bianca Arrhenius, David Gyllenberg, Miika Vuori, Elina Tiiri, Lotta Lempinen, Andre Sourander. Relative age and specific learning disorder diagnoses: A Finnish population‐based cohort study. JCPP Advances, 2021; 1 (1) DOI: 10.1111/jcv2.12001

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