Girls and ADHD: Why Are Boys Diagnosed More Often? (page 2)

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Updated on Jun 12, 2012

So what can parents do if they think that their daughter has ADHD? Dr. Barkley suggests a five-step plan:

1)      Get a diagnosis. “Don’t self-diagnose your child,” warns Dr. Barkley. “Don’t decide that your child has ADHD based on information that you find online or anywhere else. Only a qualified professional can diagnose your child with ADHD accurately.” Of course, make sure that the professional you approach is qualified to give the diagnosis and has done extensive work with children who have ADHD.

2)      Consider medication. “Many people are scared of medication,” Dr. Barkley notes. “But giving your child medication for ADHD is no different than giving your child medication for asthma.” It is true that there is a small percentage of children with ADHD that do not need medication, and you can feel free to try alternative methods of treating the disorder. Keep in mind, however, that your child may need medication in order to function most effectively, and medicating is a completely legitimate route if necessary.

3)      Get to know your child. What works for another child may not work for yours, especially if the other child does not have ADHD. Once you understand how your child’s ADHD affects her, you can figure out how to help her with her struggles.

4)      Get support. All parents need a support network, but parents of girls with ADHD will find it especially helpful. Looking for other parents whose daughters have similar problems, or find an online support group. You can ask them for advice, encouragement, or references for professionals who they found helpful.

5)      As Steven Covey’s bestselling book says, it’s important to “sharpen the saw” – which means taking care of yourself. Take a break when you need it to refresh yourself, and do something that you enjoy. A refreshed, happy parent will find it much easier to help a young girl with ADHD reach her full potential.

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