Difference between ADHD in girls and boys

Both boys and girls can have ADHD. However, the number of girls diagnosed with ADHD in childhood is significantly lower than the number of boys. This can most likely be attributed to the difference in presentation rather than the actual rate of impact.

Boys with ADHD tend to experience hyperactive symptoms such as
  • Fidgeting
  • Tapping hands or feet
  • Inability to remain seated
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty partaking in leisure activities, quietly
  • Acting as if “driven by a motor”
  • Excessive talking
  • Blurting out answers before the competition of a question
  • Unable to wait one’s turn
Girls with ADHD, on the other hand, often have more inattentive symptoms such as:
  • Failing to pay close attention to details
  • Careless mistakes in work
  • Difficulty sustaining attention to tasks or activities
  • Unable to listen when spoken to
  • Struggle to finish work, follow instructions, or complete tasks which require heavy mental effort
  • Disorganization
  • Misplacing items necessary for tasks and activities (for example: school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, cellphones)
  • Distractibility
  • Forgetfulness
The differences between symptom presentation are very apparent in the school setting. A boy with ADHD generally struggles with noticeably disruptive behavior and therefore, may sooner receive testing, diagnosis, and treatment. Girls, on the other hand, struggle differently. And because their challenge can often be with attention, poor grades and forgetfulness, an ADHD diagnosis can be harder to spot. Be aware of these symptoms and the different ways they can affect boys and girls. It is important to note, highly intelligent girls with ADHD are often the most difficult to spot. The brighter a girl with ADHD, the later her difficulties tend to emerge. In fact, many girls with above- average IQ manage academically. However, as life becomes more demanding and complicated, challenges with concentration and organization begin to emerge.