Sunday, February 24, 2013

Girls, Women and ADHD?

Girls, ADHD?  Huh?  I thought that was a boy thing?  This is the typical response given by most parents, educators and the population, in general, when posed with the concept of a female being diagnosed with ADHD.  The acronym is thrown around (abused, misused and arguably overused) in classrooms daily.  If you were a fly on the wall during such conversation I can almost assure it the label is being directed to a little boy running around the room.  However, current research paints a picture that awareness and accurate perception of this diagnosis has gone awry.

Take the following into account:

1.  Research has quite undoubtedly solidified the argument that ADHD is genetic.
2.  Diagnosed children are transitioning into adulthood.  
3.  More adults are being recognized.
4.  Boys are being diagnosed at a 4:1 ratio to girls.
4.  Adult data shows us that the split is 50/50 for gender.

Hmmm... let's think.  Now, if it is genetic I am thinking we are flitting over some girls in the classroom.  But, how?  It is obviously an invasive (and albeit, at times, annoying) disorder for adults to tolerate.  Why would they overlook the girls?  Current theories are postulating that girls may present more with Inattentive symptoms (daydreaming, forgetfulness, etc.).  This is not nearly as obnoxious for the adult as the hyperactive symptoms associated with boys.  As the old saying goes, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease."  Unfortunately, these young girls are suffering.  They are children and this state of the being is their norm.  They begin to internalize their inability to keep up socially and, at times, academically.  Low self-esteem sets in and they are markedly more prone to anxiety and depression.  

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