ADHD often looks different in girls.
Boys are three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with the condition, and girls are typically diagnosed five years later than boys. The disorganized, quiet girl is often overlooked, even though her ADHD may be just as severe as that of the boy bouncing out of his seat beside her. In elementary school, girls with ADHD tend to be less attentive and have trouble finishing projects, but they're not usually disruptive. By the time they reach middle school, though, their self-esteem takes a big hit.
"Girls aren't 'supposed' to leave their backpack at soccer or have a messy notebook. They're supposed to get along well with others. So when they struggle, they may feel stupid, lazy, and unlovable," says Deborah Pearson, Ph.D., professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at The University of Texas-Houston Medical School.