How To Spot The Symptoms Of Autism And ADHD In Girls


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Recently, there have been a number of high-profile stories of women being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or autism in later life. Women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s are finally getting a diagnosis that has been overlooked or missed for their entire lives. 

It’s been a common misconception that these conditions affect boys more than girls. In fact, only one girl is diagnosed with these conditions for every four boys. But this isn’t the case and it has now been found that in many cases, symptoms in girls are often put down to other things or are overlooked entirely. It’s also fairly common for the signs to present differently in girls.

Who can help?

Depending on the age of your daughter and where you live, there are different options to find assessments and treatment. 

For example, in Utah, the Alpine Academy specializes in helping families understand and cope with children with ADHD and autism. You can read Alpine Academy reviews from people who have used the service before. 

Your primary care doctor is often the first port of call. They can signpost you to a specialist. 

If it is your child’s school that notices symptoms of behavior, then they might have a specialist on staff or can refer you to one.

Symptoms in girls

As we’ve mentioned, there are a number of reasons that girls are not diagnosed as early as boys. Some of these have to do with systemic issues in the healthcare system, and others stem from the differing symptoms in girls. 

For example, girls are often better at hiding their symptoms than boys, internalizing their feelings. So their symptoms might manifest a lot differently. 

Attempting to modulate their behavior and forcing it down can cause a huge impact on their emotional wellbeing. 

While boys might experience sudden outbursts of anger and violent behavior, repressing these feelings can cause eating disorders, depression, or self-harm in girls.

Social interaction with peers

When interacting with others in their school or peer group, girls can often try and copy the behaviors and clothing of those they consider to be popular. This goes far beyond the usual trendsetting. They can also try and control situations by insisting on being in charge, and not reacting well when they can’t be.

Why do symptoms present differently? 

Doctors and researchers have come up with a few different explanations as to why girls and boys display different symptoms. For example, boys often react in more physical ways to girls and brain function differs too, especially at a young age. 

Girls tend to mature emotionally faster than boys prior to puberty, which can often lead their symptoms to manifest in an emotional way rather than through outbursts.

Final thoughts 

Getting a diagnosis for your child, no matter their gender can be difficult. But as more is being understood about the differences between boys and girls with these conditions, more girls will get the help they need at an earlier stage, which can really improve their quality of life going forward.

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