Categories
ADHD

Why Is ADHD So Often Missed in Girls?

We know that girls are diagnosed with ADHD less frequency than boys, even though both boys and girls have ADHD at the same rates. Unfortunately, this under-diagnosis of girls continues to be a problem.

I’m glad to see that The BBC is covering this issue as one of the keys to fixing this problem is publicizing that there is a problem to begin with! The article lays out clearly exactly what ADHD is and how it affects boys and girls similarly, supporting this important point with easy-to-understand statistics.

The author goes on to address the impact social conditioning has on how girls with ADHD often don’t appear as hyperactive as boys with ADHD:“Girls are far less likely to bounce around the classroom, fighting with the teachers and their colleagues,” says Helen Read, a consultant psychiatrist and ADHD lead for a large London NHS Trust. “A girl who did that would be so criticised by peers and other people that it is just far harder for girls to behave in that way.”While girls with ADHD are more likely to be expected to behave in school, the consequence is that they will fly under the radar and struggle with untreated ADHD for years, often with disastrous consequences. Emily Johnson-Ferguson, an adult woman with ADHD interviewed for the article, describes who her struggles with ADHD led her to self-medicate with alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.

Students with ADHD, regardless of their gender, need to learn about how ADHD impacts them in addition to strategies and supports designed to help them cope with the way their brain functions.

I think this would be a particularly good article to share with any parents or colleagues who are not aware of the prevalence of ADHD and girls. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Categories
ADHD

Self-Compassion and Managing ADHD

We all have moments when we experience anxiety, doubt, and frustration. Experiencing stressful emotions is hard enough; managing them, especially if you have ADHD, can be even more challenging. One way to ease the stress is to practice self-compassion.While negative thought patterns are not always harmful, they can become self-destructive when we fixate on them and become paralyzed with self-doubt. This can create a toxic cycle of procrastinating to avoid experiences that trigger negative feelings, which can lead to failure that reinforces those feelings.

There are many brain-based strategies for promoting emotional regulation, but one powerful way to break this harmful cycle is to practice self-compassion. How? One way, described in a recent article from ADDitudemag.com, is to talk to yourself as you would to your best friend.

When a friend is in distress, our first instinct is to comfort them with kind words. However, many of us don’t practice positive self-talk when dealing with our own mistakes, so we can’t learn from our mistakes. If you find yourself thinking, “I am a screw up, I always make mistakes!” offer yourself the advice you would give to a friend. Tell yourself something like, “Everyone makes mistakes. This is not the end of the world. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.”

Of course, this is easier said than done. To get started, try this simple mindfulness self-compassion strategy. (As you know, we here at SMARTS are all about systematic strategies!)

Set a timer for several minutes (anywhere from five to 15 minutes will do), and follow these instructions:

  1. Start by sitting or lying down in a comfortable posture.
  2. Take a few deep breaths. Gather your attention… focus on the movement of your body with each full breath.
  3. Next, with each inhalation, observe it all… Then consider, “Everyone has moments like this.”
  4. With each exhalation, set an intention: “May I find strength and kindness for myself right now.”
  5. You will get distracted almost immediately. That’s what our mind does. Treat that distraction in the same way — it happens, no need for frustration, come back to take the next breath.
  6. Continue in this way for a few breaths or until your timer goes off. Do you think this self-compassion strategy would be helpful for your students? What other strategies do you use? Let us know in the comments!

Do you think this self-compassion strategy would be helpful for your students? What other strategies do you use? Let us know in the comments!

Categories
ADHD Learning Differences

Where Are All the Characters with ADHD? Here!

When kids read or watch a TV show or movie, they are looking for stories that in some way reflect or validate their own experience. That’s why it is so important to provide students with media that reflect the real-world diversity found in the classroom.

We have compiled a list of characters with ADHD diagnoses (or who probably should have a diagnosis). Some of these characters are more appropriate for adults (you may regret showing your kids The Hangover), but there are options for just about any age!


We’d like to say that this is THE comprehensive list of characters with ADHD, but we are really only scratching the surface. By sharing a book, show, or movie where a main character has ADHD, you are showing your students that not only is having ADHD perfectly normal, but oftentimes the traits of ADHD can come in handy as the characters navigate the challenges they face.

Characters with an official ADHD diagnosis
Characters that have many ADHD traits but no diagnosis (perhaps because the term ADHD did not exist)

So, what do you think? Did we miss any of your favorites?

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