ADHD in teen girls often goes unidentified because their behavior does not appear to fall outside the range of what is considered “normal.” Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be confused for all sorts of things. For example, an inattentive type might be excused for being a procrastinator or just too social.
Meanwhile, undiagnosed ADHD in a teen boy is likely to be disruptive and defiant. This is why boys will be diagnosed at a higher rate than girls.
A host of other factors can also help mask ADHD.
For example, virtually all teenage girls, and young people in general, go through a season of low self-esteem, a draw to risky behaviors, an increase in impulsive behaviors, and more. These are common symptoms of ADHD as well as being a teenager. And if they have fallen into substance abuse, ADHD can be even trickier to identify. Any homelife difficulties or issues with family members or friends might also become scapegoats for ADHD symptoms.
In these cases, significant problems become the reason parents seek help.
If you are a loved one of a teenager who seems to be struggling with undiagnosed or untreated ADHD, hopefully, this post will lend you some clarity on the matter. If your child has recently received a diagnosis of ADHD, then I hope this information is enlightening and encouraging.
So many parents ask me, “How will ADHD impact my daughter’s future?”
Here’s my answer: it depends on what she wants to put in and get out of life. There are plenty of tools available to help your daughter create and achieve new goals. I often use the example of being left-handed. If you try to be right-handed, you will face a lot of extra hurdles and challenges. However, once you begin writing with your left hand, many of the difficulties you faced previously will go away.
If your teen is not motivated to do what it takes to achieve her goals, then she will not. That is true of all of us, but ADHD in teen girls arguably makes that a reality sooner than streamline kids.
ADHD in Teen Girls
The Three Types of ADHD
Inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, and combined are the three types of ADHD. They are determined by the symptoms that present predominantly.
These types can change over time so that someone who was hyperactive as a child becomes inattentive when they are older, or vice versa.
1. Hyperactive/impulsive: Individuals with this type are constantly moving/fidgeting or struggle with impulse control.
2. Inattentive: Individuals with this type struggle to pay attention, but generally aren’t disruptive to others. This type of ADHD is also referred to as attention-deficit disorder (ADD).
3. Combined: Individuals will struggle with both hyperactivity and inattentiveness.
Why Get Diagnosed
In many cases, people with ADHD will grow out of certain behaviors. This often brings up the question of “Do I even need to have my child diagnosed?” This question might seem supported by the fact that an estimated 75% of girls with ADHD are not diagnosed.
My response to that is three-fold.
First, anyone can benefit from knowing more about themselves. The tests I use to identify ADHD and other learning disorders do not stop at a diagnosis. I uncover strengths and weaknesses and help individuals come up with a plan for growth. This insight can only help your child, especially if they are struggling in specific areas, like academics or social interaction.
Second, without understanding the root cause of their struggles, teen girls are at a higher risk of missing out on their potential. After years of struggling to keep up in school, they may decide they just aren’t smart enough. They might turn to substances to cope. They might engage in risky behavior to find a sense of purpose or fulfillment. Eating disorders are also more common among girls with untreated ADHD.
Third, there are tools and resources to help at every stage of life. I’ll go into that more in the next section.
ADHD Treatment for Teen Girls
Following my assessment, my clients have the option of building a treatment plan. Mental health professionals use many treatment options, such as therapies and medication, to help a teen girl get back on track to reaching her potential after an ADHD diagnosis.
In cases of early intervention, behavior therapies for kids and parents are used first. In later cases, such as with teens and adults, a combination of medication and therapy may be discussed. Executive functioning tutoring may also be recommended.
Students who are diagnosed with ADHD may receive an IEP or 504 that includes specific accommodations. High school accommodations could include extra time on tests, special use of technology, organizational training, and more.
Following high school, higher education accommodations may be available. Your student’s high school IEP or 504 may help provide needed documentation to prove the need for accommodations in college. However, another assessment will likely need to be done according to their requirements.
College accommodations can include access to recording devices for lectures, note-takers, extra testing time, and more.
In the workplace, ADHD or any learning disorder does not have to determine your ceiling. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), qualified employees and job applicants can access accommodations in the workplace and during the job application process.
ADHD Testing in Santa Clarita
A diagnosis of ADHD can help explain your teen daughter’s difficulties and provide the insight needed to create a path forward. When you choose to have her assessed for ADHD, you are acting on the belief that your child is capable of more and that they deserve access to any tools that might help them thrive.
You don’t need to go far to do an assessment. Find ADHD testing in Santa Clarita at Compassionate Solutions.
Please contact me if you have questions or if you are ready to learn more about having your child assessed for ADHD in or around Santa Clarita, CA.