I am excited to share this article with you about ADHD in girls. The ten questions featured in this series of “10 Things Other Parents Need to Know About…” are answered by a mother with ADHD about her young daughter, also with ADHD. This is incredibly insightful, empowering and educational. Please share this post with any of your friends who may looking for answers about their daughter’s behavior and possible struggles in school. Knowledge IS power. Here are the 10 things other parents need to know about ADHD in girls.
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10 things other parents need to know about ADHD in girls:
1. In hindsight, my child’s symptoms were: Those of a typical toddler but amplified.
a.) Oh she was a great multi-tasker as a toddler, she could watch TV, color, and play with dolls, all at the same time.
b.) She could not follow one task commands, like getting her shoes from the other room. She would go with full intention and somehow end up playing along the way.
c.) She was very aggressive. She would bump over other children to get to what she wanted, not in a mean way, just in an “I am on a mission” way.
d.) She would explore beyond her immediate area, a couple of times I caught her wandering off, down the block.
e.) She used to talk to strangers and not have any fear.
f.) She did not need a big nap. She would nap for 15 minutes at a time and be ready to explore again.
By the time she was in Kindergarten I was almost certain that she had ADHD.
g.) She would write beautifully but at times, completely in reverse.
h.) She found it hard to play with other kids because they wanted to play the same games over and over, and she would be bored with them.
i.) Her performance levels where very erratic. Her kindergarten teacher said one quarter her reading level was normal and the next quarter it was way below grade level.
j.) When I would sit with her to do homework she would constantly look somewhere else, redirecting her focus was hard.
k.) She was also stubborn and would constantly ask why I was telling her to do something, in a highly oppositional way (beyond normal).
2. The specialist who helped us the most: By chance I happened to see a study being conducted by Children’s Hospital in Seattle on “Moms With ADHD and How They Parent Their Kids With ADHD.” They had me come in and they did an extensive questionnaire by a Child Psychologist who diagnosed her with ADHD.
3. The specialist we didn’t expect to need: A Behavioral Family Physiologist. She taught us how to communicate in a positive way and how to get better results with parenting when our child has ADHD.
4. It took us this long to get a diagnosis: Well, since most ADHD behavior is hard to differentiate from toddlerhood, it took us until she was 6 years old.
5. The biggest financial expense because of this medical condition is:
a.) Family therapy and getting a diagnosis are very costly appointments. Thankfully since we qualified to be in the Children’s study, they were free for us. An added bonus was that we got to see a top-of-the-line child psychologist.
b.) Medications can be super costly with ADHD medications running at $300-400 dollars a month easily (without insurance). However, we did not start meds on her for personal health concerns. (This is a great list of ways to help your child with ADHD to focus without medication.)
6. The organizations that helped us: ADDitude was a great resource for general information. Also meeting with other parents and getting their support was very helpful.
7. Things I wish my friends and relatives knew:
a.) How hard it can be to have ADHD, that just yelling at a child who can’t pay attention is not helpful.
b.) That the “everyone does that” response is maddening. You are not in my child’s head, you do not know what it is like to feel Distracted/Inattentive/Hyper.
c.) That if I do not become her biggest supporter it can do huge damage to her self-esteem.
d.) Sleep, nutrition, and exercise are the best upkeep for a person/child with ADHD but not always.
e.) Don’t judge if you hear of a mom who chooses meds for her child, maybe not what I would do, but I am not in her shoes.
f.) It has a highly hereditary predisposition, chances are that one or both parents also have it.
8. Our ray of hope:
a.) We moved to a highly accepting school and her teacher has been very accommodating and willing let her have a fidget (something she can hold and move around in her hand so that it helps her pay attention.)
b.) Also understanding the diagnosis and focusing more on the gifts of ADHD instead of the downfalls. As an example: creativity. She can come up with inventions that even wow me. Her hyper-focus on subjects she loves is beyond incredible. She wants to own her own business. She is a passionate child.
9. Our biggest cheerleaders and supporters: Her Dad (my husband) has been so understanding. He has not called this diagnosis crazy and has stood behind us 100%, it helps when you have such a great cheer man. I can’t forget my sisters, I love them to pieces; it helps to have someone I can talk to and just diffuse my anger at the world.
10. I wish I had known:
a.) How controversial this diagnosis is. We read everywhere about how over-diagnosed ADHD is. But that does not diminish the importance of a mother’s observations, and her intuition.
b.) ADHD is often diagnosed along with another diagnosis (comorbid diagnosis), like sensory processing disorder, anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder, and learning disabilities like dyslexia.
c.) Medication might be essential, but I am choosing a natural alternative because my child can’t tell me yet how she feels. Medications can have very negative effects such as mood shifts and suicidal ideation. When a child does not know what they are feeling it can be detrimental. I have taken meds and can tell you if they are not a good fit. They can make you feel like someone is drilling in your brain. Wait until your child can tell you how the medications make them feel.
d.) Hard to make happen but very important; have your child sleep well, eat nutritious healthy food, and get plenty of exercise.
e.) Also keep close open communication between your child’s teacher and specialists to make sure they are aware of your child’s progress or lack of progress for early intervention.
I hope these insights from not only a mother’s perspective, but also from an adult with ADHD are helpful for you, in your quest for answers and resources for your own child.
In the comments, please share your biggest challenges, and where you are turning for help. Perhaps your comment will help someone else going through the same thing.
Don’t miss any of the other articles in this series. We address a multitude of medical conditions.