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Understanding Girls with ADHD, How They Feel and Why They Do What They Do

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  239 ratings  ·  27 reviews
First written in 1999, the new edition of Understanding Girls with ADHD is better than ever. In this expanded and updated book, Kathleen Nadeau, Ellen Littman, and Patricia Quinn rise to the occasion and deliver a comprehensive, up-to-date, and readable book that illuminates the complexity of ADHD in girls and women, both across the lifespan and across multiple domains of ...more
Paperback, Updated and Revised, 376 pages
Published May 7th 2015 by Advantage Books (first published June 1st 1999)
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4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  239 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Hilary Roberts
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Oh my goodness, I love this book! The big take-away is that the symptoms that we associate with ADHD are the symptoms boys with ADHD have, but girls with ADHD often act differently. While reading the book and the information in it about the symptoms girls often have, I thought of two different kids who may very well have ADHD that I previously hadn't considered. Who knew that shy kids could have ADHD? Or that kids who are really good in school could have ADHD? The author provided great ideas for ...more
Amy Rhoda  Brown
This is a comprehensive overview of the issues that face girls with AD/HD, and the importance of addressing them as early as possible. The authors discuss how to recognize AD/HD in girls (for example, the "H" doesn't look like stereotypical hyperactivity), the unique risks of AD/HD in developing girls, and how to address the condition.

I, particularly, found the sections on socialization helpful: my daughter has ADD, and for the most part I have always understood her behaviour quite well, even b
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A great resource.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Excellent information written by a most respected ADHD expert, and the first to emphasize ADHD differences and diagnoses in girls. Describes three types (hyperactive, inattentive, combined), what to look for at different ages, and comprehensive treatment options. One chapter emphasizes executive function skills. Written for parents, teachers, and practitioners and relying on brain science and ADHD research, this is not a light read but more of a book to refer to throughout the diagnosis and trea ...more
Macie McKitrick
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All around enlightening guide to a condition I was recently diagnosed with. Knowledge is power, especially when you may have to learn to advocate for yourself until ongoing research renders ADHD in women mainstream (and not subject to uninformed skepticism.)
Secondary to that, it's also a fascinating exploration of how sexism intersects with research practice and medical care.
This is the first book published dealing with ADHD in women only.
It was published in 1999. (about 30 years after scientis
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I underlined so much in this book. It explains so much to me: about my childhood, my daughters, and how to address their future years as teenagers and young adults. I especially love that it's broken down into different life stages and explains how a girl is affected by her ADD at each point in her development. This makes so much more sense than other books who just lump all the symptoms and characteristics together.
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Boken gav mig större förståelse för min adhd utifrån ett könsperspektiv som jag tycker är oerhört viktigt. Denna hjälpa mig verkligen att få in perspektivet "flickor" /kvinnor i min egen diagnos. Tidigare hade jag endast läst om diagnosen ur ett manligt perspektiv. Denna gav mig svar på varför det har varit som det har varit under min uppväxt och den ger även forskningsstöd i varför flickor hamnar utanför radarna och varför flickor kan uppleva adhd på ett annat sätt en som bara hyperaktivt.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A life changing book for me that painted colors in my world
Lindsay Munroe
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very readable and comprehensive book, focusing on recognizing and handling ADHD in girls. I would recommend it highly for parents of girls with ADHD and all teachers.
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Opened my eyes and provided so many details on what my girl has been dealing with. Provided me with a little comfort to know that I wasn't alone.
Kyle Wendy Skultety (
This review originally appeared on my blog at

Many thanks to the author for gifting this book to me. We were introduced by Gina Pera, eminent ADHD advocate and educator. I was sure this book would provide useful information, and I was not disappointed.

Nearly all the books I’ve read about ADHD skews heavily towards males. Everyone is familiar with the stereotype of the energetic little boy, jumping out of his seat in school, and throwing tantrums in the restaurant. However,
Leslie Lindsay
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'd like to think that I am somewhat knowledgeable--maybe even a quasi-expert--at girls with AD/HD. After all, I am a mother of such a daughter (now 10 years old) and in my "previous life," worked in child and adolescent psychiatry where I saw, first-hand, many of the manifestations of AD/HD. Never before, though had I come across a book outlining with such sympathy--not to mention, honesty--the ins and outs of raising a daughter with such a condition.

Nadeau, Quinn, and Littman, *true* experts
May 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gender-studies
a seminal book describing girls with ad/hd from birth to high school years. this is a must-read for women, parents, educators, and medical professionals. since most prior studies were based on young boys, the current diagnostic criterion (DSM-IV) is in desparate need of revision and girls are frequently undiagnosed. typically, girls symptomology falls under an inattentive / distracted subset as opposed to hyperactivity. Because of societal, gender-related expectations, our daydreaming girls appe ...more
Skylar Burris
May 18, 2010 marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
I don't know that my daughter has ADHD; if she does, it's not severe and so I'm not seeking to have her labeled or to deal with it as anything but a personality challenge. She is certainly very physically active; she likes to flit constantly from one activity to another; she has trouble sitting still; she sometimes doesn't hear people talking to her because she's thinking of something else; she's talkative and tends to interrupt; but she's also a good student, able to accomplish what she sets he ...more
Mandi Ehman
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure I've ever marked up, underlined and bookmarked a book as much as I have this one; it almost felt like I was reading that long-awaited manual that didn't arrive with any of our children at birth! I already feel like I've gained new understanding into our daughter's thinking and how our reactions as parents are exacerbating the issues we're seeing. Anxious to discuss it with our ped and get a referral to someone who specializes in ADHD, not just for an official diagnosis but so that w ...more
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a good place to start for any parent or teacher who has/works with girls who may have or have been diagnosed with ADHD or ADD. Lots of brain science, but also lots of practical and useful tips. It amazes me how many of our girls go undiagnosed and develop low self-esteem and other harmful ideations that can lead to self-destructive behaviors later in life. Very matter of fact, but also very hopeful for those of us who want to help our girls reach their full potential.
Beth Sutherland
Oct 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wept with relief and grief for my own experiences.

I wept with gratitude that I found this book before ADHD had a chance to undermine my daughter's spirit and self-worth.

This book is filled with many a-ha moments and helpful strategies. It should be a must-read for anyone dealing with ADHD, either personally or as the parent/teacher of a girl with ADHD.

This book will change the course of my daughter's life.
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For anyone who has even the remotest hint that a female for whom s/he cares might have AD/HD, this is an extremely informative resource. It clearly describes AD/HD's seemingly opposite manifestations in very young girls, preschoolers, school children, teens, highschoolers, and adults. And it includes helpful advice for parents as well as educators who wish to help a girl use and appreciate her strengths and build self-esteem.
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent resource. This book clearly explains ADHD (ADD) and the unique impact it has on young females. It is filled with empowering recommendations for girls and families to take practical action towards fighting the executive-function deficits. An honest and practical text that will help you attack ADHD with ammunition and hope.
Sara Svensson
This book helped me enourmously when I got diagnosed as an adult. It is still my "go to" text, I recommend it to everyone and sometimes I even pull it from the shelf and read aloud to my boyfriend or others to explain things or make them understand my sometimes weird behaviour. It is a really thorough book, brings insight and for me personally acceptance.
Nov 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Quinn is a lifesaver, especially on the days I have answered the same question 14 times and am getting a little, shall we say, frustrated. I saw her give a seminar last week at UNC and she was amazing -- over 700 people attended so I think word is getting around about her and ADHD.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only reason I didn't like this book was that I was too old for it and much of the advice was too late.
Annmaria Tierno
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the best book I've read on ADHD, specifically because it is about girls. Girls' issues are different from boys' and this book clearly outlines those differences. Very helpful!
Ms Jill
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All teachers should read this!
Lindsay Porth
I was hoping for more examples of ways to scaffold learning for girls w/ ADHD.
Dec 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting-books
I admit, I only skimmed this book. But I wanted to put this on my list as I found it a good reference...
Julia Allen
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“Predominantly inattentive type
Perhaps the majority of girls with AD/HD fall into the primarily inattentive type, and are most likely to go undiagnosed. Generally, these girls are more compliant than disruptive and get by rather passively in the academic arena. They may be hypoactive or lethargic. In the extreme, they may even seem narcoleptic. Because they do not appear to stray from cultural norms, they will rarely come to the attention of their teacher.
Early report cards of an inattentive type girl may read, "She is such a sweet little girl. She must try harder to speak up in class." She is often a shy daydreamer who avoids drawing attention to herself. Fearful of expressing herself in class, she is concerned that she will be ridiculed or wrong. She often feels awkward, and may nervously twirl the ends of her hair. Her preferred seating position is in the rear of the classroom. She may appear to be listening to the teacher, even when she has drifted off and her thoughts are far away. These girls avoid challenges, are easily discouraged, and tend to give up quickly. Their lack of confidence in themselves is reflected in their failure excuses, such as, "I can't," "It's too hard," or "I used to know it, but I can't remember it now."
The inattentive girl is likely to be disorganized, forgetful, and often anxious about her school work. Teachers may be frustrated because she does not finish class work on time. She may mistakenly be judged as less bright than she really
is. These girls are reluctant to volunteer for a project orjoin a group of peers at recess. They worry that other children will humiliate them if they make a mistake, which they are sure they will. Indeed, one of their greatest fears is being called on in class; they may stare down at their book to avoid eye contact with the teacher, hoping that the teacher will forget they exist for the moment.
Because interactions with the teacher are often anxiety-ridden, these girls may have trouble expressing themselves, even when they know the answer. Sometimes, it is concluded that they have problems with central auditory processing or expressive language skills. More likely, their anxiety interferes with their concentration, temporarily reducing their capacity to both speak and listen. Generally, these girls don't experience this problem around family or close friends, where they are more relaxed.
Inattentive type girls with a high IQ and no learning disabilities will be diagnosed with AD/HD very late, if ever. These bright girls have the ability and the resources to compensate for their cognitive challenges, but it's a mixed blessing. Their psychological distress is internalized, making it less obvious, but no less damaging. Some of these girls will go unnoticed until college or beyond, and many are never diagnosed they are left to live with chronic stress that may develop into anxiety and depression as their exhausting, hidden efforts to succeed take their toll.
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