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Neuropsychological functioning in ADHD: Are girls different from boys? (page 2)

By — Gender Differences Special Edition Contributor
Updated on May 17, 2010

Recommendations for Clinicians Diagnosing and Treating ADHD

In practice, these findings of variable problems in ADHD participants urge clinicians to routinely test for cognitive strengths and weaknesses in all their ADHD clients in order to tailor interventions to the specific client profile. In other words, if, for example, working memory is a problem, then strategies that target such difficulties would be included, such as lists, mnemonics, and relying on other cognitive strengths. Other children may show specific deficits in processing speed, in which case, they may benefit from additional time in tests and taping lessons. At this point in time, assumptions cannot be made about which deficits will be present in which ADHD individual.

Recommendations for Parents Who Suspect Their Daughter May have ADHD:

  1. Get her properly assessed by someone who is aware of the way ADHD may manifests in girls – girls can often present as quiet daydreamers who don’t come to the attention of teachers. They can also have mood problems that mask the underlying symptoms of ADHD.
  2. If ADHD is confirmed, also ask for a “neurocognitive assessment.” A psychologist would be the best professional to conduct such an assessment. This type of testing would help determine whether she has specific problems that interfere with her learning, such as reading problems, poor memory, or slower than normal processing of information. This profile can then be used to modify her curriculum accordingly.
  3. Although medications can make a huge difference on the ADHD symptoms, they haven’t been found to help with academic problems. Consider other options to assist with the specific problems your child has – this might include psychotherapy to help with mood or anxiety, implementing behavioral management in the home and school, or receiving additional help with school-based problems.
References
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  3. Schulz KP, Fan J, Tang CY et al. Response inhibition in adolescents diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder during childhood: An event-related fMRI study. Am. J. Psychiatry, 161(9), 1650-1657 (2004).
  4. Carte ET, Nigg JT, Hinshaw SP. Neuropsychological functioning, motor speed, and language processing in boys with and without ADHD. J. Abnorm. Child Psychol., 24, 481-498 (1996).
  5. Tannock R, Martinussen R, Fritjers J. Naming speed performance and stimulant effects indicate effortful, semantic processing deficits in attention-deficit/hyperacitivity disorder. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 28, 237-252 (2000).
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  12. Rucklidge JJ, Tannock R. Psychiatric, psychosocial, and cognitive functioning of female adolescents with ADHD. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 40(5), 530-540 (2001).
  13. Gershon J. A meta-analytic review of gender differences in ADHD. J. Atten. Disord., 5(3), 143-154 (2002).
  14. Yang P, Jong Y-J, Chung L-C, Chen C-S. Gender differences in a clinic-referred sample of Taiwanese attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder children. Psychiatry Clin. Neurosci., 58(6), 619-623 (2004).
  15. Rucklidge JJ. Gender differences in neuropsychological functioning of New Zealand adolescents with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 53(1), 47-66 (2006).
  16. Newcorn J, Halperin JM, Jensen P et al. Symptom profiles in children with ADHD: Effects of comorbidity and gender. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 40(2), 137-146 (2001).
  17. Hartung CM, Willcutt EG, Lahey BB et al. Sex differences in young children who meet criteria for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. J. Clin. Child Adolesc. Psychol., 31(4), 453-464 (2002).
  18. Gross-Tsur V, Goldzweig G, Landau YE et al. The impact of sex and subtypes on cognitive and psychosocial aspects of ADHD. Dev. Med. Child Neurol., 48(11), 901-905 (2006).
  19. Seidman LJ, Biederman J, Monuteaux MC et al. Impact of gender and age on executive functioning: Do girls and boys with and without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder differ neuropsychologically in preteen and teenage years? Developmental Neuropsychology, 27(1), 79-105 (2005).
  20. Castellanos FX, Marvasti FF, Ducharme JL et al. Executive function oculomotor tasks in girls with ADHD. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 39(5), 644-650 (2000).
  21. Hermens DF, Williams LM, Lazzaro I et al. Sex differences in adult ADHD: a double dissociation in brain activity and autonomic arousal. Biol. Psychol., 66(3), 221-233 (2004).
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