“Could My Daughter Have ADHD?”

Dear Dr.Bill,

My six-year-old daughter is having trouble focusing at school.  Normally she’s an excellent student, excelling in all subjects.  But sometimes in class she’ll just sit there, daydreaming.  My husband and I wonder if she’s bored but the teacher doesn’t think so.  We also struggle with this at home sometimes — when she’s doing chores or homework, she is easily distracted or side tracked.

We don’t believe this is ADHD because she’ll sit for hours without distraction when it comes to something like playing on the computer or watching a movie.  What do you suggest?


Dear Marla,

One of the misperceptions about ADHD is that it always involves hyperactivity.

There are actually three types of ADHD—the hyperactive type (where kids are bouncing off the walls and climbing on the furniture) the inattentive type (where kids have difficulty paying attention in highly-structured environments) and the combined type (where kids show signs of both hyperactivity AND inattention).

In girls, ADHD is often missed because it tends to be the inattentive type. Teachers typically KNOW the boys who have ADHD, because they can’t still in class, irritate their classmates, and basically make the teacher’s job a lot more difficult.

By contrast, a girl with ADHD may sit quietly in her seat but be unable to focus on her class work, particularly when the task is routine or the lesson is less than stimulating.  Teachers don’t realize these girls are falling behind, because they are often well-behaved and don’t rock the boat in the classroom.

My advice would be to have your daughter assessed by a psychologist who specializes in treating ADHD.  If she IS diagnosed with the disorder, the psychologist will consult with you about the best treatment options.  That may include educational interventions that will help your daughter in the classroom.

Thanks for writing Marla.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

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Shine Family Expert