First written in 1999, the new edition of Understanding Girls with ADHD is better than ever.
In this expanded and updated book, Kathleen Nadeau, Ellen Littman, and Patricia Quinn rise to the occasion and deliver a comprehensive, up-to-date, and readable book that illuminates the complexity of ADHD in girls and women, both across the lifespan and across multiple domains of life (e.g.,
home, school, the workplace, close relationships). Blending clinical examples, case material, and a masterful synthesis of research findings around the world, the authors reveal the roots of ADHD in females during the preschool years, also summarizing relevant causal factors, and display the highly individualized journeys through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood that these girls and women face. The book’s latter chapters make use of the information on ADHD and development and provide a synthesis of the kinds of treatment strategies needed to intervene with the complex issues faced by girls and families who struggle with ADHD. The authors’ working through the executive functioning deficits experienced by so many girls with ADHD―and their deployment of vivid examples of right vs. wrong ways of approaching such problems―will be of great importance for large numbers of families. Even more, the authors emphasize that ADHD rarely exists in a vacuum and that understanding and treating co-morbid disorders is essential.

Understanding Girls with ADHD does not shy away from key areas of controversy. How, for example, can a family know whether it’s ADHD or another set of problems that’s the primary issue? How does one deal with the potential use of medication, which is plagued by bad press and abundant myths but which can, as part of a multi-faceted treatment plan, provide great benefit if the right dose is found and if the doctor works with the family to monitor positive effects and side effects carefully? What about longterm risk for eating pathology, substance abuse, and other difficult areas of impairment of salience for girls? How can girls and their families break through the thicket of negative expectations and sometimes-toxic family interactions to pave the way for a different set of outcomes?

Clearly, ADHD does not look the same across different individuals, especially girls. Understanding Girls with ADHD emphasizes the multiple ways in which ADHD can manifest itself across different people, families, and ages.

Always sensitive, and without hesitation in providing an authoritative tone, this book will empower girls and their families in ways that are sorely needed. Its emphasis on gender-specific manifestations of ADHD and its inclusion of practical means of attacking the executive-function deficits that plague girls and women with ADHD will ensure its continued status as core guidebook.

Written with compassion and sensitivity, and full of the clinical wisdom that accompanies years of experience on the front lines, Understanding Girls with ADHD is the go-to book for those needing guidance, support, and knowledge about female manifestations of ADHD.

Many thanks to the author for gifting this book to me. We were introduced by Gina Pera, eminent ADHD advocate and educator. I was sure this book would provide useful information, and I was not disappointed.

Nearly all the books I’ve read about ADHD skews heavily towards males. Everyone is familiar with the stereotype of the energetic little boy, jumping out of his seat in school, and throwing tantrums in the restaurant. However, girls can have ADHD too, and the signs may not be as obvious. This book aims to educate parents and teachers about girls with ADHD and what signs to look for.

Nadeau’s tone is just right. There is no endless scientific posturing, no glib New Agey solutions; just honest talk and positive thinking. She also discusses the different way girls are affected by ADHD. For example: the hormonal changes of puberty, famous for wreaking havoc on the most stable female’s world, may cause ADHD symptoms to be seen for the first time. This is important because “these girls do not meet the DSM-5 requirement that evidence of ADHD problems must exist prior to 12 years of age in order to receive and ADHD diagnosis”.

Using case studies and real life examples, Nadeau provides short vignettes of life with an ADHD girl. These serve well to illustrate the point being discussed and parents will be able to see that Carly is not just being a typical teenager, she may have undiagnosed ADHD and need help.

Each chapter builds upon the last one, starting from grammar school all the way up to college. The chapters are further broken down into easy to grasp sections, with titles like “What Teachers See” and “Gender Role Expectations”.  A typical tomboy may be a girl struggling with hyperactivity or impulsivity, and the girl everyone knows as a sweet, quiet dreamer may have inattentive ADHD and need help with focusing on her schoolwork. Girls are also at risk for developing secondary issues such as anxiety, eating disorders, and substance abuse.  Nadeau offers advice on managing co-morbid syndromes along with the ADHD, using a complete therapy approach–utilizing family and school together. She speaks to the parents, saying not to despair, but to provide an organized environment that will work for a girl’s psyche–don’t just adapt a treatment plan constructed for the male brain. One of her tenets is that ADHD treatment should address quality of life, not just aiming to reduce ADHD symptoms. The two don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

Societal pressure on girls to “have it all” affect them deeply. The quiet, dreamy girls may need help asserting themselves, while the outspoken ones with seemingly no filter will have to be taught how not to alienate their peers. Nadeau is wise to address the minefield that the school years bring to females, who generally have a harder time as they proceed through puberty. She truly is a champion for those that need it the most.

Women have either been getting shortchanged by being told that “girls don’t get ADHD” or forced to fit the description of the male ADHD pattern. Nadeau has done a great service by realizing that girls are different (Mars vs Venus, anyone?) and thus their ADHD will manifest differently as well. The more educated parents are about this quirk of neurobiology, the better off they, and their daughters, will  be.

Want  your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”0971460973″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].