View Full Version : book - "Understanding Girls with AD/HD"

03-26-03, 01:18 PM
I am wondering if you know if this book addresses girls with AD*H*D, or concentrates mainly on ADD (no *H*), as most books seem to.

My daughter has significant hyperactivity, and it took a long time, it seemed, to get her diagnosed, as we kept hearing "GIRLS don't have ADHD, they only have ADD". We were even told at, at CHILDRENS HOSPITAL, no less, when she was 5, that her lack of ever having achieved toilet control, and her (to their eyes) interest in sex, meant that she must have been sexually abused, that it COULDN'T be hyperactivity!

NO, it wasn't sexual abuse - as we eventually found out, kids with ADHD are often hypersexual, and within two weeks of being put on Ritalin, she self-trained. She was simply so hyper that she couldn't 'feel' her body signals that she needed to go to the bathroom.

It took 4 doctors til we found a specialist in ADHD at UMASS, who took one look at her and told us she had ADHD. Once I read up on it, it seemed so clear.

But we STILL hear it. Our school coudn't deal with it at all, THEY told us "girls don't have hyperactivity, we've never heard of this before". It took us a long time to get an IEP for her - a year with our school district, they kept postponing us and giving us excuses.

Anyway...right now I'm venting. But I still find little info on GIRLS with hyperactivity.

T. in MA

03-28-03, 10:11 PM
Here you go :)

Understanding Girls With AD/HD by Kathleen G. Nadeau, et al

According to one reviewer..."...This is really a great book directed at the issues surrounding girls. Most books are written from research done with boys, and girls do have different concerns and show different signs of ADHD. For instance, they seem to be moodier, and more easily brought to tears. (At least this is true in my household between my son and daughter who both unfortunately have ADHD). This book addresses how to answer some of our questions that I have not found elsewhere. I think this book is a must for families who have girls with this disorder. It also has pointers to teachers. I recommend it."

03-28-03, 10:23 PM
Just read the Amazon reviews. Hmmm....they were somewhat helpful, but I still find the terms ADD and ADHD being used interchangeably. To me, anyway, they are quite different.

My son and I have ADD...we quietly space out, and procrastinate, which seldom disrupts any one else.
We are classic couch potatoes!
It seems from all I've read over the years, that it is much more common for women to just have ADD, and that it impacts girls and women more academically, than socially.

But my daughter, although doing well academically, is very hyperactive, and disruptive in the classroom as well as at home. But it seems like it's the fact that she is a GIRL, that is the problem at school. They almost EXPECT it from boys, but not from a girl. In fact, she is now the only girl in her SpEd group of 9. There was a 2nd one, but she had ODD(Oppositional Defiance Disorder), not ADHD, and was eventually mainstreamed out of the program.

I guess I will have to get the book and read it.

T. in MA

03-28-03, 10:31 PM
I can understand your frustration. As some of the following links discuss, ADD/ADHD in girls is is often a missed diagnosis, or as some will phrase is...underdiagnosed.

and some research on ADD/ADHD in Girls

03-28-03, 11:19 PM
I just sent Patricia Quinn who is the co-author of the book an email asking her if the book addresses girls who do have the hyperactivity. I will let you know what her response is.

03-29-03, 05:55 PM

03-29-03, 08:37 PM
Wow! She even mentioned the toilet training/wetting issue! I AM impressed. This was the original issue that drove us to seek help - our daughter hit a plateau in toilet training at age 2-1/2, and advanced no further. The plateau was of wetting herself several times a day, often RIGHT after we'd make her go to the bathroom, and no night control at all. We began taking her to doctors at age 4, maybe 4-1/2.

So began our quest...we saw around 5 doctors, among them Boston Children's Hospital, supposedly the Holy Grail of toileting, which told us "well, since we can't think of any other reason why she wets herself.....well then, she must have been sexually abused"!!!

They even threatened us with being reported to the DSS - fortunately we were able to find (and pay for) private doctors who certified that there was no evidence at all.

Children who are sexually abused HAD BEEN toilet trained, and THEN lost it....our daughter had NEVER achieved it! Plus she had never had any change in behavior that might indicate sexual abuse - she had ALWAYS been 'different', even as a small baby.
I can't tell you how angry I still am when I think about that meeting, even though it was almost 8 years ago.

After one more useless doctor, who gave us a bed wetting alarm that did absolutely no good, we FINALLY found a wonderful psychologist at UMass - Marty Young - who took one look at her and was able to diagnose her as ADHD. Further testing showed no doubt, and within 2 weeks of being put on Ritalin, our daughter achieved daytime control. She does still at the age of almost-13 have some toileting issues when she spaces out too much, but it is much improved.
Dr. Young is still one of the few psychiatrists/psychologists who seem aware of the toileting issue in ADHD.

It is sad to think that we, upper middle class, highly educated parents with financial and other resources, had so much trouble getting our child diagnosed - I shudder to think what happens to the children of poor and/or uneducated parents - I have no doubt that our daughter would have been taken away from us by the DSS for the crime of being a girl with ADHD.

I will get the book right away - thank you SO MUCH for your help.

T. in MA