People have this misconception that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects only boys. However, as understanding of this condition is getting deeper, more girls are being diagnosed with ADHD and are able to get proper treatment. Living with undiagnosed ADHD can result in several disadvantages such as poor performance in classroom, low self-esteem and self-blame.
Girls have the tendency to have inattentive ADHD while boys have hyperactive-impulsive ADHD or combined presentation. Here’s what ADHD can look like in girls:
- Inattention – Girls with ADHD can find it difficult to focus and stay attentive. They can get easily distracted by external events such as a bird outside the window. This can cause them to lose focus on other important events in their environment. They can also get internally distracted and drift off into their own world. This may also be a coping strategy or it may due to lack of control.
- Hyperactivity – Hyperactive girls may be labeled as a “tomboy” due to their interest in physical activity. They do not seem to enjoy typical things girls their age like to do. They might also be in motion in less obvious ways, such as doodling constantly or fiddling around their chair.
- Impulsivity – Girls with impulsivity can be hyper-talkative and verbally impulsive, interrupting others, talking excessively, or changing topics again and again during conversation. They may not have control over their words and will blurt out things without thinking about their impact on others.
Often, ADHD symptoms in girls are thought of as characters of a girl’s personality, rather than ADHD. This makes it even more difficult to diagnose girls. However, here are some possible signs of ADHD in girls:
- Getting distracted easily and difficulty in maintaining focus
- Shifting focus from one activity to another difficult one
- Being messy and disorganized, both in her appearance and physical space
- Forgetting things
- Problems in completing tasks
- Facing difficulty in processing information and directions
- Appear to be making careless mistakes
- Poor time management
- Always talks but rarely listens (hyper-talkative)
- Being hyper-reactive
- Verbally impulsive and say things without thinking of consequences
- May get easily upset and cry
- High sensitivity to noise, fabrics, and emotions
- Not easily motivated
- May appear shy and withdrawn
Although these signs may not be a sure-shot way of identifying a girl’s condition, it may be prudent to go for ADHD evaluation if she is persistently facing difficulties in these area. Diagnosed ADHD can be treated and easily managed. Interventions such as behavior management techniques, organizational strategies, medication, counseling, and support can be put in place accordingly.
Knowing that a girl has ADHD can help her get the right treatment and relieve her from a huge burden of guilt and shame. It can help make her life a little easier and give her a brighter future.