Redshirting* and Recent Research

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redshirting kids with adhdIf you’re looking for another reason to consider redshirting, you may want to consider findings published online recently in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to research done over several years on elementary to middle school aged children in Iceland, younger children may not perform as well academically in mathematics and language arts as their slightly older peers.

Additionally, children who are in the youngest third of the class are 50% more likely to be prescribed stimulants to manage symptoms of ADHD between the ages of 7 and 14.

Let me be quick to say that we don’t wish to vilify the use of medications to help with ADHD. To quote Dr. Seuss:

Not one of them
Is like another.
Don’t ask us why.
Go ask your mother.

*Academic Redshirting: holding a child back from starting kindergarten to allow for a little more maturity; often used when a child will be one of the younger ones in the classroom.

About Kayla

Kayla Fay is a freelance writer and the mother of four boys, three of whom have been formally diagnosed with the inattentive type of ADHD. When she started “Who Put the Ketchup in the Medicine Cabinet?” in 2002, her sons were ages 8 through 14, when her life was a “progression of dirty laundry, lost homework, misunderstood Algebra, and a whole lot of love and fun”.

Connect with Kayla online Google+


  1. http://Molly says

    Yes, but what if you are already in the “thick of it” and have a child that is under performing and being pushed toward medication. Holding kids back has been documented as enormously detrimental. What now?

    • It’s a hard decision, and you’ll have to seriously weigh the psychological consequences. For some, the success that is achieved by being held back makes up for the initial sense of failure that often is there. How old is your child?

      One of ours was not red shirted, and was held back later. For us, it was easy, however, because there was a move involved – new school system, new city, everything. Is there a possibility of school change? (And yes, I know that’s a long shot!)

      In any case, the main support will come from you. If you decide to hold your child back, take the ‘blame’. “We made a huge mistake when you were little. You were so smart and everything that we pushed you too fast…and put too much pressure on you. We need to fix our mistake…”

      Keep us posted!