In previous eras, ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was seen as a condition that primarily affected boys. Now, we know many girls have ADHD as well, but their symptoms can present a bit differently than the traditional symptoms seen in boys.
Rainilda Valencia, MD, Micaela Marin-Tucker, PA-C, and Megan Reynolds, C-PNP, of Valencia Pediatrics in Victorville, California, are committed to diagnosing and supporting girls as well as boys who have ADHD.
How does ADHD impact children?
Girls and boys with ADHD have more difficulty with concentration and focus than other children. They can have trouble finishing work they start, keeping track of deadlines, maintaining a tidy workspace, and controlling impulsive behaviors.
ADHD impacts children at home as well as at school. Without treatment, it can make these children vulnerable to emotional, academic, and social challenges, especially as they get older.
ADHD symptoms in girls
Girls with ADHD can have the same symptoms as boys, but sometimes there are also differences that make their ADHD more difficult to diagnose. In general, girls with ADHD are more likely to display more passive, harder-to-detect symptoms and are less likely to act out than boys with ADHD.
These are three symptoms you might not expect in ADHD girls:
1. More inattentive than actively impulsive
Girls who have ADHD are more likely to display behavior that is inattentive than boys. This means girls with ADHD often daydream, appear forgetful, and have a difficult time focusing on directions and conversations.
Her inattentiveness can mean she might avoid doing tasks that require her to concentrate for long periods. She might make mistakes on schoolwork or tests that appear silly but are related to challenges with focus.
2. Is disorganized and messy
A girl with ADHD might have a messy desk, backpack, or room. She can find herself losing homework, having trouble finding her clothes in the morning, or experiencing difficulty organizing her lunch bag.
3. Has difficulty coping emotionally
Girls with ADHD are less likely than boys to get a diagnosis, which can lead to emotional and social regulation challenges. A girl who has untreated ADHD can appear to show signs of being depressed, anxious, or stressed.
She might also have sleeping problems, including difficulty falling asleep or waking up before her alarm. It can also be harder for girls with ADHD to make and keep friends, which can lead to more emotional difficulties.
Getting an ADHD diagnosis
If your daughter shows any of the above signs, Dr. Valencia can determine if ADHD or another challenge is causing her symptoms through an ADHD consultation. A consultation involves a discussion with you, an evaluation of your child, and potentially discussing your child with other important adults in her life.
If Dr. Valencia diagnoses your daughter with ADHD, she creates a treatment plan that helps her succeed in school, function more successfully at home, and improve peer relationships and emotional coping skills.
If you suspect your child might have ADHD, call us today for a thorough and compassionate diagnosis and treatment plan.