Supporting girls with ADHD

Girls experience ADHD differently than boys do, and a teacher who understands this can help girls cope with ADHD and reach their potential.

I hope this article helps you recognize ADHD-related symptoms and behaviors in your girls.

Girls with ADHD often feel disorganized, scatterbrained, forgetful, and overwhelmed.  Some girls are hyperactive, but others become more and more introverted, maybe even depressed and anxious.  While ADHD symptoms sometimes decrease in puberty for boys, girls’ symptoms intensify as estrogen increases in their system.

Girls with ADHD are often not diagnosed until middle school, high school, or beyond.  That means that elementary school teachers probably won’t have a diagnosis or 504 plan to alert them to a girl with ADHD.  That doesn’t mean she isn’t hiding in your class, hoping you can help.

If you start to think that a struggling girl may be falling behind because of ADHD, take notes on the symptoms/behaviors you observe and the interventions you try.  If possible, note which subjects the class is studying when the student’s attention wanes.  Your notes might either point to a learning disability—or suggest that it be ruled out if academic subject does not seem to affect how much attention the girl pays to the lesson.

Try some of the classic support strategies: assign her to a seat near the front, teach her an organizational system, ask a classmate to help her stay organized, and prompt her to pay attention or focus on a task.

Girls with ADHD often suffer socially.  Even today, society still expects girls to be neat, organized, and sociable.  A girl with ADHD, who finds these things a struggle, may feel isolated from her peers.  You might be able to pair such a student with a caring girl who can help her make friends.

I learned about a new test called the TOVA.  It stands for Test of Variables of Attention.  TOVA is a computerized test of attention that assists in the screening, diagnosis, and treatment monitoring of attention disorders.  Your student’s parents may be interested in pursuing the test on their own.

A good resource is CHADD, Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.  The section for parents and caregivers contains helpful tips for teachers.

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Posted in Classroom Management,Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ Sep 20, 2013


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