Girls with ADD (Attention Deficit) in the Classroom Bursting Barriers in Education

Girls with Attention Deficit Disorder present differently than boys in the classroom.  Girls' ADD symptoms are internalized and more subtle while boys' ADD symptoms are externalized and obvious.  The struggles Girls with ADD face are often overlooked because their signs are not as noticeable.  



Supportive Teacher Response


inattentiveness, daydreaming, spacey, easily distracted, highly sensitive to noise, fabrics, emotions

appears unmotivated, lazy, forgetful, missing assignments

redirect in discrete ways.  Walk by and put hand on shoulder. 

remember this is a struggle and not being lazy. 

check in often

preferential seating - close to area of instruction near positive peer role models (facing board)

comprehension checks - to make sure student knows task expectations

in class support for attention to task and work completion

longer projects broken into chunks with checkpoints

extension on work completion, able to turn in assignments online 

Fidgety with hair, nails...

Fidgets or drawing may help but quietly check to ensure she is paying attention to the lesson and not just the fidget.

allow movement and ability to stand - provide flexible seating options

Hyperverbal, talking excessively, interrupting others, verbally impulsive

Focus on the positive  

“that is a great idea, let’s chat about that when we are done with the lesson.” 

quietly explain about interrupting in a 1 to 1 setting

provide a “parking lot” where students can post questions or comments without interrupting

visual cue system to notify student when interrupting  

check in/check out for behavioral monitoring

Positive behavioral supports to introduce and reinforce positive behavioral expectations 

struggle with executive functioning, disorganized, difficulty finding things

keep supplies in a special place in the classroom

help with organization during transitions

provide extra writing utensils in an easily accessible area.

check out system to monitor agenda/assignments

assist in organizing and packing up at the end of the day.

directions and tasks broken down into steps

may compensate by over focusing on certain things or being a perfectionist 

teach study and test-taking strategies to relieve stress

allow student to test across multiple days

double time for tests/quizzes

easily overwhelmed, worrier, Irritability or mood swings

low self-esteem, self critical, withdrawn, prone to anxiety or depression, may present as headaches or stomach aches

teach strategies to relieve stress and anxiety

Shoot for 5 positives for every negative when giving feedback

modification in amount of work focusing on mastery of content

allow work completion in a quiet environment

tests taken in alternate setting

unleash frustrations at home instead of at school

Check in with girls often

May not express anxieties at school

try hard to please teachers and parents

less likely to be diagnosed

have mastered flying under the radar to cover up difficulties

can be coached to advocate for themselves

may include asking a teacher or peer for clarification when do not understand an assignment  

break card for when get overwhelmed 


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