The majority of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) are boys. Boys are generally identified more frequently than girls because they are more active, always on the go, and demonstrate acting-out behaviors more noticeable than girls. Girls are often overlooked because they are quieter, are taught to conform, and are less likely to demonstrate acting out behavior. Both boys and girls can have ADD but not be hyperactive, hence the missing “H” for hyperactivity. If your child is disorganized, has trouble paying attention, forgets and looses things easily, often stares off unable to stay focused on a topic, your child may have Attention Deficit Disorder, Inattentive Type. This type is not recognized as often since the child does not present with acting out behaviors.
If your daughter is struggling and you are unsure if there are underlying problems, consider these important questions: (1) Are these behaviors excessive, long-term, and pervasive? That is, do they occur more often than in other children the same age? (2) Are the behaviors a continuous problem, not just a response to a temporary situation? (3) Do the behaviors occur in several settings or only in one specific place like the playground, home, or in school? If you answered ‘yes’ to most of these questions, consider an evaluation to help you and your daughter. You should get information and strategies to use at home and in school that can help your daughter.
Some general strategies parents can try with their child include establishing a regular daily schedule, helping organize homework into separate folders and getting their school work and backpack ready the night before, in addition to using homework and notebook organizers. A useful book for parents is Understanding Girls With ADHD. Your daughter may be eligible for an IEP in the category “Other Health Impairment” if her ADHD is interfering with her academic performance. Look for an ADHD coach in your area to also help with organizational skills and techniques.