Updated 06 April 2016

Action point


Are you making your toddler an over-achiever? Beware! According to a new study, the increasing academic stress on younger children is likely to be the reason behind the high prevalence of attention-deficit disorder.

Researchers from the University of Miami in the US hypothesised that increased academic standards since the 1970s have contributed to the rise in diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

From time spent studying to enrolment rates in pre-primary programmes, pressure on children has increased substantially – and not surprisingly the past 40 years have also seen ADHD diagnoses double, the study revealed.

While ADHD is a neurobiological condition, it is influenced by age-dependent behaviours and demands of the environment, the researchers noted.

As academic activities have increased, time for playing and leisure has decreased, resulting in some children being seen as “outliers” and ultimately being diagnosed with ADHD. At such a young age, he adds, what’s most important is that kids experience free play, social interactions and use their imagination.

Read more on treatments for ADHD


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