The psychiatrist asked questions like "Do you sometimes need instructions repeated to you several times before you can do them?"
Pork Lo Maniac: ::swivels in chair:: "Um, yes."
Psychiatrist: "Do you sometimes feel like it's hard to pay attention in school?"
PLM: ::blank stare::
Psychiatrist: "Do you sometimes feel like it's hard to pay attention?"
PLM: "Are the flowers in that candle real?"
Me: ::bursts out laughing::
PLM: "Wait, what?"
Earlier in the day, she had been telling me about something that happened in school. She stopped, mid-sentence, entranced by something outside the window.
"Look at that bird!" she exclaimed happily.
I feel like crap that we didn't have this diagnosed earlier. She's been struggling in some areas of school, like math, since first grade. Our child psychiatrist said that while boys are usually diagnosed between the ages of 7 and 8, girls are usually not diagnosed until age 12.
So I'm like, what the hell?
And also: oooh, shiny.
Because I'm 37 and just figuring out that I probably have ADHD, too. (That there was a link to another post in my blog. I might be hyper-focusing on links today. It turns out that people with ADHD are sometimes actually able to hyper-focus on things to a degree that people with ADHD can't. Which is totally my excuse for not getting the laundry done today. I'm focused here, people. And I find it supremely annoying when people spew medical "facts" without backing it up with, you know, facts. So I'm going to keep linking.)
Wait, what the hell was I talking about? Oh, right, the studies.
Studies have shown that ADHD in girls is consistently under-researched and under-diagnosed, despite the fact that girls with ADHD are at least as likely as boys to manifest with conduct disorder and are more likely than boys to engage in substance abuse. (Here's one study, here's another, here's another, here's yet another, I'll stop linking studies now. Also? Maybe they should stop researching the under-researching and do some damn research now.) Girls with ADHD are also just as likely as boys to have comorbid conditions such as anxiety, depression, and social impairments.
girls with ADHD are simply less annoying than boys with ADHD. I'm paraphrasing here; "annoying" is not an actual medical diagnosis unless you're Caillou. In which case? Diagnosis: Annoying. Also, I'm *totally* not saying that your son with ADHD is annoying. Unless he's the boy who shoved Little Dude in school the other day. That kid is wicked annoying.
The deal is that boys with ADHD are more likely to have more
Girls are more likely to present with
The squeaky wheel gets the grease. At least that's the prevailing wisdom. It's important to note that this study shows that there is no significant difference in the rate of conduct disorder in boys and girls with ADHD. But this study shows that girls with ADHD are less impaired and show less impulsivity. What does that mean? Just as many girls have these issues. They're just less annoying about it.
Here's my thought: it's not just that they're less annoying about it. It's that our society is not only okay with girls being "spacey," it actively encourages it. As proof, I give you:
holy crap, she does. So that right there is proof that girls with ADHD need more support. Ms. Hilton has been on ADHD medication since she was a child, and that was clearly not enough.
It's a good thing we don't have Hilton Money because it seems that scads of dough plus ADHD can equal train wreck. I'd hate for my daughter to become a coke-snorting celebutante who sucks at lying to the police. Plus, if you're distracted by shiny things and you have bajillions of dollars, it must be really difficult to get out of Tiffany's in under ten hours.
Despite the fact that there's a crapload of studies explaining why the Pork Lo Maniac hasn't been diagnosed until now, I still feel guilty. Regardless, we're moving forward with the information we have now, and ADHD will not be a pass for bad behavior. It will be a reason for me to try harder: to give the Pork Lo Maniac structure, support, consistency, and above all, love.