Updated 03:26 PM EDT, Tue, Oct 20, 2020

ADHD Symptoms, Medications & Tests: Postponed Enrollment in Kindergarten Decreases ADHD Symptoms in Children, Study Finds

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For a lot of parents, it is a source of pride to have their kids be enrolled in kindergarten at such a young age. While it is interesting how fast the child is developing, delaying kindergarten for a year may actually do more good for the child.

In a new release by Stanford's Graduate School of Education, it was shown that a one year delay in enrollment dramatically reduces inattention and hyperactivity by age seven. The researchers found that children who were held back from kindergarten for a year shows 73% reduction in attentiveness, compared to those who are sent a year early.

Professor Thomas Dee, who co-authored the paper, said, "We found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73 percent for an average child at age 11 and it virtually eliminated the probability that an average child at that age would have an 'abnormal,' or higher-than-normal rating for the inattentive-hyperactive behavioral measure."

Dee's paper with Hans Henrik Sievertsen offers new evidence on the mental health aspects of children, especially in predicting educational outcomes. Inquisitr noted that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is determined by measuring the individual's hyperactivity and inattention, which reveals his or her capability in managing self-control or self-regulation, along with it the ability to control impulses and adjustment in behavior in attaining goals --- things that are linked to children's achievement.

Theoretically, this means that young children and teenagers who can focus, sit still and pay attention longer will more likely do better in school.

For their study, Dee and Sievertsen used data from a natiowide mental-health screening tool in Denmark, and matched it against the Danish census. Children in Denmark were enrolled in Kindergarten the calendar year that they turn six, which means that those born on December 31 have started kindergarten earlier that year, while those who were born on January 1 will be a few months older than six when they went to school. The researchers were able to examine differences in children and improvement of mental health in regards to hyperactivity and inattention has been significant for those who delayed kindergarten.

Of the said improvement, Dee remarked, "This is some of the most convincing evidence we've seen to support what parents and policymakers have already been doing --- choosing to delay kindergarten entry."

Improved mental health is not the only benefit for children who are enrolled in kindergarten at age six --- emotional and social skills are shown to have improved as well.

Dee hopes that the research will lead to new education practice and theories in the way kindergarten is taught, by pointing more toward play than structured academics and lesson plans.

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