The Invisible Girl: Growing Up With Undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder

by Kathleen Kelleher, Ph.D. – In school I tried my best to be a “good” little girl. I had already learned in my short life that this meant “being seen and not heard until spoken to”. It also meant listening attentively while the teacher spoke, but this did not come easily to me.

I remember well, sitting in the classroom with the teacher in front of the chalkboard. As the teacher droned on and on, I would tune in and out, and back in again. When I tuned in I caught bits and pieces of the lesson. When I tuned out, I created intricate stories in my mind. So, on I went, fabricating stories in my made up world in my head while lessons were taught, instructions were given, homework was assigned and much more.

A great part of my time in school was spent enduring reprimands; and for what, …

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ADHD – Growing Up is Hard to Do!


Dear Dr. Nadeau,
I attended your session about girls who have ADD and clung to every word you said and ordered your book as soon as I got home. I learned that so many of my daughter’s symptoms can be attributed to ADD. I’ve had her evaluated many times and specifically asked about ADD, but they all said “no — she doesn’t have it.” I am appalled and discouraged that so many professionals were wrong. Now — they finally agree with me! And the psychological exam she had recently agrees too. I still cannot find a psychiatrist who has expertise in ADD, especially in girls.

My daughter, Heather, is about 15 years old developmentally although 23 chronologically — quite immature. Her IQ is in the low normal range. She graduated from high school and did pretty well because I structured her life and forced her to do homework. She …

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Prevalence of Attention DeficitHyperactivity Disorder in Women Who are Obese


National Health Week (April 13-20, 2003) focused on the issue of obesity. I thought it would be interesting to look at the prevalence of ADHD in women who are obese. The issue of eating disorders and obesity in women with ADHD was first raised by Dr. John Fleming, Ph.D., and Lance Levy in the chapter on eating disorders and ADHD in Understanding Women with ADHD.

Fleming and Levy reported on their work in an obesity clinic in Canada. They found that women who were least successful in losing weight in their eating disorders treatment program had a much higher incidence of undiagnosed ADHD than in the general population.

Dr. Fleming wrote that he believed this pattern had several causes, all related to ADHD. For example, changing unhealthy patterns of overeating or binge eating requires planning and consistency – two capacities that are compromised by the executive functioning challenges associated …

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A Close Look at Girls With ADHD in the Classroom

Clinical reports have long described girls with ADHD as better behaved and more teacher-compliant in the classroom than boys with ADHD, and many have speculated that these factors have played an ongoing role in the under-diagnosis of girls with ADHD.

An important new study has carefully documented these different classroom behavior patterns. Abikoff and his colleagues examined 403 boys and 99 girls with combined type ADHD, ages 7-10, in a naturalistic classroom setting, to explore the effects of gender and comorbid conditions upon behavior.

To fully appreciate the importance of these findings, we want to underline that all of the girls in this study met the criteria for both hyperactive/impulsive ADHD, as well as inattentive type, and were therefore categorized as having “combined type.” We emphasize this because even these girls demonstrated few of the behaviors that so often lead to teacher referral. We can safely assume that girls …

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Long-Acting Stimulant Treatment of ADHD in Girls


To report an evaluation of the efficacy of once-daily OROS® methylphenidate (MPH) (brand name CONCERTA) in girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) by reviewing data from four randomized double-blind placebo-controlled studies.


ADHD is an important cause of psychiatric disability in girls, and is currently under recognized and undertreated. More boys than girls present with AD/HD. DSM-IV estimates the male: female ratio as 9:1 (based on the proportion of girls referred to clinics), and yet community-based studies have sometimes shown the ratio to be as low as 2.5:1. This suggests that AD/HD prevalence in girls is seriously underestimated and that many school-aged girls with AD/HD are unlikely to be properly diagnosed and treated. Without adequate treatment, girls with AD/HD are likely to have academic underachievement, low self-esteem, few friends, and sleep problems. In addition, some may exhibit excessive talkativeness, introversion, and in adolescence to indulge in risky behaviours, such as …

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ADD-friendly Ways to Organize Your Life


By Kathleen Nadeau;In the last issue of ADDvance News Online I have a little background about the partnership that developed between myself and Judith Kolberg, professional organizer, over the writing of this book. Although she had worked with many adults who have AD/HD, I still found that she, like most organizers and like most organizing books, sometimes recommended approaches that wouldn’t appeal to or work for an adult with AD/HD. Our goal was to write a very different organizing book that took into account the AD/HD tendencies that make organizing so challenging for many adults with AD/HD. Here are a few more….

AD/HD-friendly organizing strategies to work WITH your AD/HD….

Take advantage of “organizational moments”

Organizational moments are times when you take advantage of unplanned opportunities to organize. An example is filing a paid bill and then, while you’re at it, flipping through the file folder …

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Don’t Put It Down! Put it Away!

There will be no easier time than NOW.
Don’t put it down! Put it AWAY!

By Maurine Harrison- It’s a cold, dark winter morning. You can almost hear the school bus coming, but not quite. Your child has just stuffed the last misplaced book into the crumpled book bag sitting expectantly in an open front door. The outside lights are glaring so the bus driver will feel guilty if he doesn’t wait for your child to rocket out that door.

Without warning, a wrinkled paper waves frantically in front of your face, something that requires MONEY, something you “HAVE TO SIGN NOW” or today will be the end of the world. You dash for pen and wallet two rooms away and make it back just in time to scratch your name in the appropriate place (you hope). Money is ripped from your hand, almost before it’s out of your wallet.…

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Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D.

Kathleen Nadeau PhD - Stephanie Sarkis PhD

Kathleen Nadeau is co-editor and co-publisher of ADDvance, A Magazine for Women with Attention Deficit Disorder, and co-publisher of Advantage Books, a specialty press that publishes books related to Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. She serves on the professional advisory boards of both CHADD and ADDA, the two largest advocacy organizations focused on the needs of children and adults with AD/HD.

Dr. Nadeau is one of the first professionals to focus on adult AD/HD issues, as well as one of the first professionals to focus on the unique concerns of women and girls with AD/HD.

She is the director of the Chesapeake ADHD Center of Maryland, in Silver Spring, Maryland, a clinic staffed by mental health professionals who provide psycho-diagnostic testing to evaluate AD/HD, learning disabilities, and related disorders. She and her staff also provide individual, couples, group, family. Adolescent and child therapy focused on AD/HD and related issues. The Chesapeake

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New Nordic EQUAZEN Chews | Proven ADHD Relief and Concentration Aid for Kids & Adolescents | Chewable Softgels with Natural Omega 3 & 6 Fish Oils | Swedish Made | 180 Count (

Hi Dr. Quinn:

I just read your response to “Dear Dr. Q.” in the addvance magzine. Over the past several months I have witnessed some dramatic changes in both PMS and Perimenopause along with AD/HD symptoms in some of the women I have been treating.

The protocol is the same as Andy Stoll’s for depression. The best results have come from unadulterated fish oil; I prefer Carlson’s; the initial dose is 1000mg of EPA for two to three weeks. If there is no response the dose is increased to 3000mg of EPA; again if no response in three weeks the dose can be increased with guidance to 6000mg. The fishy taste has nearly been eliminated from Carlson’s Super Fish. A teaspoon contains 800mg of EPA. I have seen Vitamin Shoppe with a similar product screened for heavy metals.

The EPA acts like the second messenger response that we …

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Welcome (shhh, spring is around the corner!)

Now don’t tell anyone, because that might jinx it, but in this northern area where it snows – if only in the mountains (a mere hour away if your foot is heavy) – and where it is grey for months and months, creating the illusion of high annual rainfall (when in fact, it’s not – it just drips), but which inspired the “discovery” of the disorder now known as S.A.D., or Seasonal Affective Disorder, attributable in large measure to reduced sunlit hours – hold onto your hats because this sentence will come to a close soon, and in syntactically sound condition, too – in this northern place (shhh, remember?) there are crocii blooming in front of my house right this very day.

Now. Back to this issue of ncgiadd. Valentine’s Day has come and gone with the worst of winter weather, we hope. Schools are hurtling toward spring break. We …

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