Special Education

Special Education

October 16, 2002 2 min read

Girls and ADHD

Teachers may never suspect that those quiet girls who appear to be sitting attentively in their classes may really have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The image of a student with the disorder has typically been a rambunctious boy who disrupts class and can’t stay still. But a new study shows there may be more girls with ADHD than teachers and parents realize.

Statistics show boys are more likely to have the disorder by a ratio of 3-to-1. But girls may be underdiagnosed, according to the study, published in the October issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

In what was one of the largest studies ever done on girls with ADHD, researchers examined 228 girls, including 140 diagnosed with the disorder. The girls with ADHD went off their medication for the study so researchers could monitor their behavior. All of the girls in the study attended six-week summer camps together in the San Francisco Bay area for three years in a row, starting in 1997.

Both sets of girls were recruited through newspaper ads offering “summer enrichment programs.” Some ads said the programs were for girls with attention problems. Health-care providers recommended some of the girls for the study.

At camp, the girls participated in art, drama, and outdoor activities, but their “counselors” had notebooks and pencils. The camp staff, without knowing which girls had the diagnosis, took down extensive notes on their behavior.

Past research has shown both girls and boys with the disorder have difficulty focusing on tasks, meeting goals, and staying organized. But this study found that girls with ADHD have a harder time making friends than their male counterparts do.

Girls with ADHD may stand out from other girls because they are more likely to tease peers and act aggressively, the authors say.

Girls, they say, are more likely to have the “inattentive” type of the disorder. A student with that type of ADHD has disorganized, unfocused performance, rather than impulsive behavior.

Teachers and parents aren’t as likely to recognize the “inattentive” type of ADHD, said Stephen Hinshaw, the lead author of the study and a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Our hope,” Mr. Hinshaw said in a statement, “is that these efforts will spur the field towards theoretically rigorous attempts to understand ... ADHD in both boys and girls.”

—Lisa Fine Goldstein

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
Schools are working through the most disruptive period in the history of modern education, facing a pandemic, economic problems, social justice issues, and rapid technological change all at once. But even after the pandemic ends,

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Special Education What the Research Says Gifted Education Comes Up Short for Low-Income and Black Students
Wildly disparate gifted education programs can give a minor boost in reading, but the benefits mainly accrue to wealthy and white students.
8 min read
Silhouette of group of students with data overlay.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Special Education What the Research Says Most Students With Disabilities Still Attend Remotely. Teachers Say They're Falling Behind
A new survey finds that students with disabilities are struggling in virtual classes, even with added support from teachers.
3 min read
Image shows a young femal student working on a computer from phone, interfacing with an adult female.
Getty
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Special Education Whitepaper
A Comprehensive Guide to the IEP Process
Download this guide to learn strategies for bringing together all stakeholders to plan an IEP that addresses the whole child; using relia...
Content provided by n2y
Special Education What Biden's Pick for Ed. Secretary Discussed With Disability Rights Advocates
Advocates for students with disabilities want Biden to address discipline and the effects of COVID-19 on special education.
2 min read
Miguel Cardona, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of Education, speaks after being introduced at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, as Biden, right, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, look on.
Miguel Cardona, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of Education, speaks after being introduced at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del., Dec. 23, 2020, as Biden, right, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, left, look on.
Carolyn Kaster/AP