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ADHD in Young Women Misunderstood by Parents, Teachers, Survey Finds

ADHD In Young Women Misunderstood by Parents, Teachers, Survey Finds

A new study released today finds that almost 50 percent of mothers of tween girls who are diagnosed with ADHD find that they first thought their behaviors were normal “teen struggles.”

These findings are part of an online survey conducted by Edelman Berland and fielded by Harris Interactive on behalf of Shire Pharmaceuticals, said a press release. The study finds that 59 percent of mothers “reported that they initially hesitated to seek help from a doctor for their daughter,” said the release. “Additionally, 60 percent said they wish they had recognized the symptoms of ADHD earlier and acted sooner.”

The survey, the release said, “was conducted online in July 2014 among a total of 1,883 people.” The survey was completed by 1,051 mothers with daughters between the ages of eight to 14, and 103 mothers who have a tween daughter diagnosed with ADHD. The survey was also completed by women with ADHD and elementary and middle school teachers. There was also feedback from health care providers, primary care physicians and pediatricians.

Among mothers of tween girls, the release said, “more than one-third [36 percent] believe one must display hyperactive-impulsive symptoms to be diagnosed with ADHD.”

"Symptoms of ADHD may not be as noticeable in girls because girls are more likely than boys to display inattentiveness rather than the hyperactivity and impulsivity most people associate with the disorder. All too often their mothers and fathers chalk it up to age and stage in development," said Dr. Patricia Quinn, developmental pediatrician, ADHD researcher and author.

The survey, the release said, also found that “29 percent of teachers and health care professionals surveyed believe children will outgrow ADHD symptoms.” The study also said “previous independent research based on parent report suggests that nearly 50% of children with ADHD may continue to meet the criteria for the disorder in adulthood.”

When it comes to teachers and ADHD, the study found that “nearly a third of teachers felt that they do not know a lot about the condition,” said the release.

"The results of this survey underscore how much education still needs to be done about the full range of ADHD symptoms. It is so important to tune into what's going on with our daughters as individuals and to be willing to talk to their doctors if we think something more serious could be going on," said Dr. Quinn.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor 

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