Today, about 5% of children are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, that is, every 20th child in the world. At the same time, scientists speak of a very high probability that this figure is underestimated. Insufficient surveys in developing countries, the usual labels of “hooligans”, “mischievous” and sometimes hereditary “Cs” (the likelihood of developing ADHD can be inherited), in which no one takes the child to a specialist, lead to an underestimation of statistics. However, there is one more factor that influences the diagnosis – the sex of the child. MedAboutMe talks about the differences in ADHD in girls and boys.
Child gender and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
According to medical statistics, ADHD is three times more likely to be diagnosed in boys. A boy who cannot sit still, concentrate on the necessary task and forgets everything, already attracts the attention of both teachers and specialists. However, in adulthood, the ratio of patients with ADHD is noted as 1: 1: for one man – one woman with a diagnosis.
Previously it was assumed that this is a consequence of the successful compensation of the disease during adolescence. However, today, doctors are paying attention to the fact that girls may have different signs of ADHD, and the gender of the child becomes a decisive factor in the likelihood that symptoms will not be noticed. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine that an active girl with good grades in his diary and lots of friends can be a problem requiring treatment with attention, impulsivity and activity regulation, and this is why doctors say about underdiagnosed ADHD in children female.
Despite the fact that in girls ADHD often occurs in a more socially “convenient” format, this syndrome requires attention and correction, since it can often provoke a tendency to impulsive and unsafe actions, risky behavior, decreased self-esteem and the likelihood of developing mental disorders. And living an adult with ADHD is not particularly comfortable, the peculiarities of the nervous system affect the quality of life. How to identify signs of ADHD in a girl?
13 signs of ADHD in children common to girls
Experts at the University of Calgary have identified 13 of the most common signs in girls diagnosed with ADHD. Although the researchers talk about lessons, homework and other school activities, it is worth remembering that a school in Canada is an educational institution where children are admitted from the age of 4, which means that these indicators apply to our kids.
It should also be borne in mind that the inability to concentrate for a long time, impulsivity and high activity are properties characteristic of all children, and you should not try to diagnose the disease if a four-year-old child cannot sit with coloring for more than 10 minutes or is constantly distracted by cartoons and a bird for window. This is the norm.
Signs of ADHD in girls:
- the child does his homework for a very long time, much longer than his classmates. In the process of execution, he is easily distracted, has difficulty remembering what he did, forgets about lessons in general and finishes everything (if he finishes) late in the evening or with the vigilant control of an adult;
- successful studies require much more effort, compared to the age norm, even for the smartest girl, this is the influence of ADHD. The process of learning and memorizing itself is ineffective, and good grades are the result of either a happy coincidence of the moment of concentration of attention and a question, or the titanic, often joint efforts of a child and an adult. Bad grades often appear due to “stupid” mistakes made through carelessness and forgetfulness;
- insufficient reading comprehension with good reading skills is also one of the signs. Children “catch” the facts in the text, but the connection between them is difficult. Important details, descriptions, general idea of the text are often overlooked;
- the child often forgets educational supplies and things. At the same time, with an open contact nature and a lot of acquaintances, this can go unnoticed: with forgotten replaceable shoes, you can apologize to the teacher, forgotten pens, paints, borrow a textbook from a neighbor on a desk. Girls, in accordance with studies, are forgiven such minor flaws more often, and this sign is sometimes not so easy for parents to notice;
- increased talkativeness is another aspect that others are often attributed to the characteristics of the child’s gender. Here is a girl-“chatterbox”: talking, talking, communicating … In our view, such an increased sociality in the female sex is the norm. But in the case of girls with a combination of symptoms, this may be a sign of ADHD;
- in the room, at school, in the classroom, the child’s things rarely take their place. Most often they find themselves unknown where, and you can look for them for a very long time;
- While boys with ADHD tend to rush around the corridors and climb wherever they can and cannot, girls more often express this differently, and again the gender of the child helps to reduce the likelihood of diagnosis. A girl with ADHD will be more likely to willingly and actively respond to the teacher’s requests to do something during the lesson, go, bring, distribute, and while completing the assignment, she will also have time to chat with friends;
- about friends: there are two possible options for the child’s social life. In one case, lowered social skills make it difficult to make friends, and the girl may be isolated. This is usually noticeable. Another option: there may be many friends and acquaintances, and it is they who help to find lost things, borrow pencils and rulers. However, when trying to organize a joint game or entertainment, attention deficit and impulsivity interfere with the child, causing him irritation and anger and demanding the help of all the same friends;
- if the girl is not controlled, then she will come to almost any class with a delay. It is the same with returning home from lessons, walks, etc .;
- almost any “great undertakings” (projects, reports, handicrafts, everything that requires long-term concentration) are incomplete without outside help;
- the girl is involved in any extracurricular activity, just to give an outlet for energy. “Drama circle, a circle from a photo, and also a hunt to sing” is about hyperactivity and impulsivity. Interest fades away just as quickly;
- you can’t learn from your mistakes, things still don’t stay where they are, the shift stays at home, the number of drama clubs is growing;
- mood swings are clearly noticeable: now there are grandiose plans and happiness from their imaginary embodiment, in a minute – disappointment and depression because of someone’s careless words.
A child with ADHD: is it cured?
ADHD is a complex syndrome, and therapy depends on many factors. The main thing that experts usually recommend to parents is to work with the child on concentration skills and find activities that allow you to release tension without harming yourself and others.
Since in girls the symptomatology is less pronounced and in a more social and acceptable form for the child’s sex, this often entails not only the absence of a diagnosis, but also, in its presence, reduced motivation for correctional work. And this is the second aspect of the problem of ADHD in girls: children suffer, they have to work much harder to achieve average results, the desire to make an effort decreases, and faith in themselves and their capabilities decreases.
The general principles of ADHD therapy do not depend on the sex of the child: all children learn to concentrate in the same way, and girls, due to the peculiarities of the manifestation of the diagnosis and the more condescending attitude of teachers, educators, and other adults to its symptoms, have a higher chance of effective therapy. Therefore, it is not only possible, but also necessary to work with the manifestations of the disease.