Females with ADD and ADHD…Symptoms and Success Strategies

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am at the Council for Exceptional Children Conference (CEC) in Denver and listening to Dr. Ellen Arnold discussing females with ADD and ADHD. Due to the way it often times manifests itself in females, many will go undiagnosed for many years of a young ladies’ life. Females account for only around 25% of diagnosed cases. Dr. Arnold identifies these items below as typical symptoms for girls with ADHD…

  • Wandering thoughts…lacking focus
  • Forgetting important documents like permission slips and assignments
  • Difficulty completing assignments
  • Gets upset more often than boys as a girl hits adolescence
  • Lacks feelings of being good at anything
  • Running late
  • Distracted by stimuli in the environment
  • Told by teachers/parents/coaches to try harder
  • Come across as spacey
  • Feel different than her peers
  • Bedroom is a disaster
  • Regularly use boredom as an excuse
  • Disorganization isn’t always visible
  • Are pleasers as opposed to advocators
  • Regularly fail or struggle on tests
  • Reading presents challenges

Dr. Arnold suggests these following success strategies. These include…

  • Identify strategies to overcome boredom
  • Need to highlight an individual’s strengths
  • Identify the best ways to listen
    • Doodling
    • Toe tapping
    • Repeating back information to check for comprehension
  • Find the best way to maximize performance through one’s own strategies
  • Become one’s own best advocate
    • If something works, USE IT!!!
  • Finding movements that minimalize distractions
  • Stay positive…avoid negative language of self and others
  • Use stickers or Post-It notes to write down thoughts…compensates for a lack of working memory (blurt book…a separate notebook to write down thoughts)
  • Identifying how a behavior helps meet a goal
  • Becoming one’s best self-advocate
  • Use differing manipulatives for stimulation and movement
  • Better to read aloud as opposed to reading to one’s self
    • Helps with comprehension and drifting
  • Learn differing test-taking strategies
  • Use physical activitity

If you feel that a female in your life meets some of these concepts, I would strongly recommend exploring the possibility of ADHD. Also keep in mind that this can also apply to males as well. For more information on ADD and ADHD in girls, please visit The Center…A Resource for For Women and Girls with ADHD.

For more information on my ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning coaching, please visit www.adhdcoachchicago.com. To learn more information about some of the other services I provide, please visit www.carrolleducationalgroup.com and www.iepexperts.com. I can be found on Twitter at ADHDEFCoach. You can also find me on Facebook and Tumblr. My good friend and fellow ADD/ADHD Coach Tara McGillicuddy invites me as a regular guest on ADD/ADHD Support Talk Radio. Tara does many wonderful things and you should check out her website here. Feel free to email me at jonathan@adhdefcoach.com or call 773.888.ADHD (2343) with any additional questions.


  1. Thanks for the tips! I was diagnosed when I was 12, as an adult I’m learning to cope with the use of a great coach! This is a great post and describes the majority of me to a “T”. I have had to change my thoughts to determine what I’m good at and how to apply that to my life.

  2. Great tips!!! Will try them. Thank you for sharing the post!


  1. […] Females with ADD and ADHD…Symptoms and Success Strategies […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: