Boys are more than twice as likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, than girls. But many experts say it’s not a question of actual prevalence, but of diagnosis.
A conference at West Chester University on Saturday will examine how the disorder affects girls.
Conference keynote speaker Dr. Patricia Quinn said it’s the squeaky wheel getting the grease. A developmental pediatrician, she has ADHD herself. Boys with ADHD tend to be disruptive and loud, she said, and are thus diagnosed more readily. In girls, she said, the disorder manifests itself differently.
“Girls tend to be inattentive, they may be shy and withdrawn, they may be looking at the teacher in class, but they are really not paying attention, so they are not getting any of the information,” said Quinn.
Girls with ADHD who are not diagnosed and treated are at higher risk for depression, eating disorders and substance abuse, she said. Quinn recommends educators, parents and physicians learn to recognize the disorder in girls so that they can get the treatment they need.