Wednesday, December 5, 2018

When your birthday really matters

I have a birthday in June.

When I was little, this meant that I could stay up as late as I wanted on my birthday or celebrate it with a slumber party on the day of my birthday without having to wait until the weekend. But I was sometimes unhappy that I had a birthday outside of the school's calendar: I couldn't celebrate by bringing treats into the classroom, or by however the teacher gave students special attention on their big day.

It also generally meant that I was younger than a lot of my friends in school. But, since it was only a few months, it didn't seem to matter.

What I didn't realize is that being younger by a few months really matters when parents are first entering their children into school, as most states have a cutoff date for Kindergarten entry. And - the younger you are when you start Kindergarten, the less mature you will be. That means that school can be a strain for those "younger" children, and in some cases, lead to them being diagnosed with ADHD more often than their peers.

That is a tricky diagnosis, and it is a tricky label to shake. Once you have a doctor who believes the diagnosis is correct, it is a long, uphill battle to determine if the diagnosis is correct. So it is up to parents to be the advocate for their child and speak up if they want a second opinion.

It's hard to remember how much difference a few months can make when we are adults. But to our children - the ones who still say their ages in terms of years-and-a-half - the months really do matter.

Were you the oldest or youngest child in your class growing up? Tell me in the comments. 

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