Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has long been considered a disease that affects men. However, as the understanding of the condition deepened, more and more girls were diagnosed.
Girls are more likely to suffer from ADHD with inattention, daydreaming and shyness are common, while boys are more common with hyperactivity-impulsive hyperactivity or mixed manifestations.
Living with undiagnosed ADHD can lead to disadvantages, such as lack of accommodation in the classroom, low self-esteem, and self-blame. If undiagnosed, ADHD can even affect the mental health of adolescence and adulthood. Knowing the different ways that ADHD may appear in your daughter can help you understand when to see a doctor for evaluation.
Diagnosing girl’s ADHD
The symptoms of ADHD are very different in every child. You may have a boy who has been diagnosed with ADHD, but you never thought that your daughter might also suffer from problems at school because her problems seem to be very different from his.
The symptoms of ADHD in girls are usually considered characteristics of the girl’s personality rather than ADHD, which is why they are often overlooked or explained.
It is much easier to identify physically active and provocative children as children who can benefit from an ADHD assessment compared to children who seem alienated or upset. In girls, the signs and symptoms of ADHD often have the following underlying commonalities:
Make up for negligence
For many girls with ADHD, focusing on the task at hand is their biggest challenge. They may be distracted by external events or drift into their own world. For example, a bird outside the classroom window may distract attention from more important things in the environment, such as the teacher’s announcement of an upcoming test date.
In compensation, a girl with ADHD may pay too much attention to what she likes or is good at. She will put so much effort and focus that her parents or teachers may ignore the possibility of ADHD. Sometimes this high level of concentration is a coping strategy that can keep yourself entertained when you are bored. Other times, she may feel that she cannot control it.
Always in motion
If a girl is hyperactive, she may be described as a “tomboy” because she likes physical exercise and does not seem to like the “typical things” that a girl her age does. She may also be exercising in less obvious ways, perhaps constantly scribbling or walking around in her chair.
Lack of impulse control
An impulsive girl may be multilingual, verbal impulsive, will interrupt others, talk too much, or change the subject again and again in a conversation. She might blurt it out without considering their impact on others.
But this girl may be too sensitive. Some girls are described as emotional and easily excited.
Signs and symptoms
Not all girls with ADHD will show all the signs and symptoms below.On the contrary, having one or two of them does not in itself equate to an ADHD diagnosis. However, if your daughter seems to continue to experience some of these symptoms, it may be helpful to discuss with an experienced professional.
- Cry easily
- Daydreaming in her own world
- Difficult to stay focused; easily distracted
- Disorganized (in her appearance and physical space)
- Didn’t seem to try
- Doesn’t seem to be motivated
- Highly sensitive to noise, fabrics and emotions
- Talking a lot (always have a lot to say, but not good at listening)
- Overreaction (exaggerated emotional response)
- Seems to be making a “careless” mistake
- May close her door often
- Often late (poor time management)
- Problem with task completion
- Look shy
- Seems to get angry easily
- Shifting attention from one activity to another
- Take time to process information and directions; as if she didn’t hear you
- Verbal impulse; blurt out to interrupt others
Ask for help
If ADHD is diagnosed, it can be treated and managed. Interventions can be taken, including behavior management techniques, organizational strategies, medications, counseling, and support.
Just knowing that she has ADHD can alleviate the girl’s guilt and shame. It can also free her from harmful labels such as “empty”, “unmotivated”, “stupid” or “lazy”. She is not those things; she just suffers from ADHD. Can develop strategies to make life easier and her future brighter.