‘Boys will be Boys’ (Except at school it seems)

Happy kids with a ballWhen they hear the term ADD/ADHD most people are likely to immediately think of it as a problem mainly affecting boys. This perception is mostly due to the fact that boys are five times more likely to be diagnosed with the condition than girls. The fact is, however, that ADD/ADHD should not be seen as something that only parents of boys should be worried about. Many adults and girls are also affected. The reasons behind the lower rates of diagnosis in these groups are that ADD/ADHD is not widely recognized as a condition affecting adults and the fact that it often presents differently in girls (most girls with ADD/ADHD can be classed as passive-inattentive and are therefore often simply seen as ‘daydreamers’)

The probable underreporting of ADD/ADHD among adults and girls should be addressed as a matter of urgency. Another area that demands our attention is the stark gender imbalance when it comes to ADD/ADHD diagnoses. The gap between boys and girls are so large that it will almost certainly not be closed by more accurate identification of cases among girls. This leaves the question: Are boys simply more prone to the condition than girls? There are many scientists who come to this exact conclusion. Many others point out that this may be partially true but that there are also additional factors that should be taken into account.

I find myself in the second camp and I firmly belief that the one factor that could go a long way towards explaining the over-diagnosis of boys is the modern school system and the way in which it is geared towards the needs of girls. I realize that this is a startling assertion to make but it is one that is supported by the latest research into childhood development.