For a wonderful talk entitled "What is ADHD" by Fintan O'Regan, education director of ADDISS, visit the Dystalk website. The talk covers the following key topics:
- A definition of ADHD
- Causes of ADHD
- Diagnosis of ADHD
- The impact of ADHD
Girls Who Are Smart But Ditzy
I'm not sure if my daughter would actually be diagnosed with ADD, but I have very strong suspicions! She is totally disorganised, very anxious, sensitive, unpredictable, defiant, talks incessantly and is completely unlikeable at times....but funny, sweet and loving at times too. Seeing her in the context of a child with ADD makes it so much easier to tolerate her erratic and sometimes obnoxious behaviour.
Originally ADHD was seen as a thing that hyperactive boys had. Now it is becoming recognised that you can have ADD without the physical hyperactivity and that girls tend to have this form of it. They are the sweet, quiet little girls who sit at the back of the classroom and never cause trouble. They get labelled "sweet but a bit ditzy". If, as is usually the case, they are of above average intelligence, they achieve OK grades in spite of daydreaming most of the time. So good grades and no trouble means not recognised. It means report after report stating "could do better", "if only she would apply herself...".
However, on the inside, these kids are in emotional turmoil. They can't maintain focus, so they feel on the verge of being overwhelmed at any minute. They are terrified of being asked a question in class because they probably won't have heard it fully or will have missed the context and will make a fool of themselves. They know they are clever but never seem to achieve as well as they feel they should. They forget their homework, are late for class, lose their stuff, fall out with friends and have no idea why, etc etc. Often, they put so much effort into holding it all together in school that they just have to let it all out when they get home. There, they are constantly chastised for being cheeky, disobedient, untidy, difficult…. In the end they have virtually no self esteem and go on to become underachieving, frustrated, depressed adults with a string of bad life-choices behind them.
I found all this out by reading a book called Understanding Girls with Ad/HD
by Kathleen Nadeau. If your daughter sounds a little like this, get the book. Even if she doesn't have true ADD, it will give you a new way of looking at her. It has completely changed my relationship with my daughter, as instead of getting angry and exasperated, I feel sorry for her when she loses it and give her love and support. 100% of the time, she responds like a child who is relieved to be heard and understood. It's as if they live on the verge of panic much of the time and need constant reassurance and affirmation.
If you are a teacher, please read the book as you will definitely come across many of these little girls in your classrooms. Speaking as the mother of one fragile little flower, and the adult version of one, I can tell you with certainty that you could transform a child's whole future by recognising this problem.