ADHD in Females
Grace is a second grader. She sits quietly with her hand folded in front of her and watches tv. She sees Dumbo and thinks of the stuffed elephant on her bed. She remembers her brother winning it for her at a carnival, where she got to ride a pony and eat cotton candy. A few minutes pass, and Grace has no idea what is happening around her or on the cartoon. She is not worried, because there really isn't a time that her mind is not wandering.
Grace is a well mannered little girl, but suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Like most girls with ADHD, she is not physically hyperactive like the common misconception of people with ADHD. She represents a quarter of the undiagnosed cases of ADHD in females (1). According to the site "What is ADHD..." to be diagnosed as ADHD, a person must fit at least six of the following hyperactive/ impulsive characteristic:
often fidgets with hands or squirms in seat;
often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected;
often runs about or climbs excessively in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents and adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness);
often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly;
is often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor" á often talks excessively;
often blurts out answers before questions have been completed; á often has difficulty awaiting turn;
often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g. butts into conversations or games)
Hyperactivity and impulsiveness are not both needed to be ADHD. An ADHD individual without hyperactivity is interchangably referred to as ADD, which most ADHD females are.
Between 3 and 5% of school age children are affected with the disorder. ADHD boys are usually diagnosed at an earlier age because of their excessive hyperactivity, but girls are more difficult to diagnose because most females carry only the mellow ADD characteristics. According to ADDvances (2) there are basically three forms of the disorder. Girls, like Grace, are in the catagory of "daydreamers" with ADD. They sit quietly in class, and parents and teachers somtimes just pass off Grace as being well behaved, introverted, and perhaps a less than average student. A second type of ADD is commonly called "tomboys" with ADD/ADHD. These girls are hyperactive and tend to engage in more physical activities such as sports, exploring, and are always on the run. Unlike most males with ADHD, girls are usually more cooperative at home but are never satisfied with themselves, and they tend to work hard to please others. The third catagory of ADD is referred to as the "Chatty Kathy" syndrome, which is simply a combination of hyperactivity and attention deficit, but not necessarily considered "tomboy." These girls are excited, frequently jump from topic to topic, have such problems as discussing a movie plot, interrupt themselves and others, have a...