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Children with ADHD need more time to be school ready, says study

Children with ADHD tend to struggle in the early school years as compared to their peers. A new study says this is because they take more time to be ready for school and this is an even bigger struggle when the child is not diagnosed.

In many cases, children with ADHD or autism are not diagnosed on time. It's only when they start going to school and often struggle with language and skills that the diagnosis takes place. Now, a new study says that children with ADHD are more likely to struggle in certain key areas as compared to their peers.

These key areas are - physical well-being and motor development; social and emotional development; approaches to learning; language development; and cognition and general knowledge. Because of this, they have "impaired school readiness".

The study was conducted on 45 children with ADHD and 48 children without the disorder. Most of them were between four to five years old and were either enrolled or attending school.

Parents of children with ADHD agree with the findings and say it mirrors their experiences as well. Preetha Anoop Menon's

son Shiva, who has ADHD, started off by attending a mainstream school.

My son was initially in an inclusive school and the struggles that he had to undergo were many. He had a tough time handling academics and there was a lot of peer pressure as well. How can you make a child who cannot even sit properly, do things like his peers do? - Preetha Anoop Menon, parent of child with ADHD.

Preetha believes that parents with ADHD kids must wait longer before sending them to schoo. "I feel parents must wait until the child is five years old to assess if he/she is school ready. And like this study says, it is important to diagnose the child early, earlier the better".

Late diagnosis is a common problem so when the child is reluctant to go to school, parents tend to attribute it to laziness. The child's struggles with coping with peers or the school environment is not realised soon enough. If diagnosed at the right time, the child can do well.

Experts say that it is important for parents to be vigilant and respond to any behavioural issues. "Parents have to be watchful of their child's behaviour and reach out to them. Most importantly, they must find something that interests them so that they like going to schools", says Shiny Vinson, Principal, Navajeevan Special School.

Identifying and helping kids with ADHD symptoms is clearly key to making their early school experiences enjoyable and motivating.

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