Adhd and Girls
Many households today are acquainted with ADHD as a common learning challenge that can be diagnosed and worked upon. But do we recognise this condition in girls and boys at the same rate?
ADHD manifests in boys and girls differently. Boys usually showcase hyperactivity or disruptive behaviour, which is considered a typical symptom. Girls on the other hand, tend to have symptoms such as inattentiveness, teacher pleasures and often put in a lot of effort into trying to hide their problems. The symptoms seen in boys are recognised as the major way in which ADHD manifests itself, leaving girls undiagnosed for long periods since they do not have those symptoms.
Most studies conducted to better understand ADHD have been conducted with primarily male participants. This prevented researchers from grasping that the disability can play out in different ways depending on gender.
Another reason for the lack of diagnosis in girls has been that the earlier criterion for the longest time said that symptoms are evident by age seven. However, the onset of symptoms can be seen or observed later among girls. The DSM -5, though, has changed the age to twelve from seven. Due to this relationship between age and symptoms, many girls are not diagnosed as they are above the general age where symptoms are strong.
Why is it important to pay attention to diagnosis?
According to Nadeau, Littman, and Quinn (2015); and Quinn and Nadeau (2000, 2004) girls with ADHD are often : have impaired social skills, experience academic underachievement, experience peer rejection, are self critical and ashamed etc. It is important to be conscious of symptoms even as they appear at an older age. Such analyses have led to the scientific community to be more aware of the role of gender in our understanding of learning disabilities.
Due to the lack of diagnosis girls are at high risk of facing low self esteem, learning and social issues etc. Another result of this is that, once older and evaluated, girls are commonly diagnosed with anxiety or depression. These issues usually aren’t linked back to the primary disorder of ADHD, thus it is not treated directly. Quinn (2008) reports that girls with ADHD are four times more likely to be diagnosed with major depression and three times more likely to be treated for depression before ADHD.
At Empowerkidz we are making conscious efforts to create awareness about ADHD among girls and not confuse symptoms as their mood swings, laziness, shyness, attention seeking behavior, or just being picky. There could be some underlying reasons for these symptoms. Our goal is to insure that young girls are being diagnosed and further, helped with a challenging condition. We are using specialized tools for assessments and personalized programs to help young girls utilize their potential and keep their self esteem high.