By Cynthia Hammer, MSW
There Has To Be A Better Way!
Thirty years ago people said, “The reason girls aren’t diagnosed with ADHD is because they aren’t disruptive in the classroom.” and just days ago, the information on a website for women with ADHD said something similar, “ Since ADHD symptoms do not become noticeable as early in girls as they do in boys, this adds to the misunderstandings and misdiagnoses in girls. “ Why can’t the symptoms in inattentive children be as noticeable as they are in hyperactive children? That is the question to ask.
If you aren’t looking for something, you will never find it. How do we help parents and teachers look for inattentive ADHD? If we help them look, we will help them find it where they hadn’t noticed it before.
The Dangers of Overlooking Inattentive ADHD
We are slowly finding out the wide-ranging and negative impacts undiagnosed ADHD has on a person’s life. Because the statistics are so damning, it is unconscionable to allow any child with ADHD to go undiagnosed.
People with undiagnosed ADHD have statistically significant challenges with academic under-achievement and failure, under-employment and unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse , incarceration, suicide, personal injuries and car accidents, victims of domestic violence, increased divorce rates, depression and anxiety, obesity, diabetes and the list goes on and on. We can’t continue to accept a later in life diagnosis of inattentive ADHD.
Because I wanted to change the belief that it is difficult to identify children with possible inattentive ADHD, I founded the non-profit organization, the Inattentive ADHD Coalition, with a mission that children with inattentive ADHD are diagnosed by age 8 and adults with inattentive ADHD are readily and correctly diagnosed when they seek help. A lofty mission statement but can it be achieved?
Making A Difference
Others, who share my mission, joined the Board of Directors. Its mission has personal relevance for many of them as, like myself, they were diagnosed late in life with inattentive ADHD. The board decided that to be effective as a small organization with a big mission, we should focus on a single thing. Our single thing is educating school personnel and parents of children in K-5 about inattentive ADHD.
We created a questionnaire, Discover Possible ADHD (of the Inattentive Type) in Children in Your Classroom as our powerful first step. But our questionnaire is only as powerful as its employment.
This is where you, dear reader, come in. Share the link to the questionnaire (www.iadhd.org/child ) with your social network. Print out the questionnaire to share with teachers and parents of children in K-5. Encourage them to visit our website, the only website solely about inattentive ADHD, where they will learn about inattentive ADHD, how it presents in children and adults, and how people with inattentive ADHD can live thriving lives.
Cynthia Hammer is the Executive Director of the Inattentive ADHD Coalition – www.iadhd.org.
She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work in 1972. For many years she was a stay-at-home mom raising three sons while her husband spent long days at work as a general surgeon. She started a non-profit organization in 1993 to help adults with ADHD, and she recently started a different non-profit, the Inattentive ADHd Coalition to create more awareness of Inattentive ADHD. Visit it here: www.iadhd.org