Gender in ADHD
I read the quote in rebecca’s post and got to thinking about the ways in which technology is used to empower people who could be considered disabled, but not physically.
One thing that came to mind for me was ADD/ADHD. According to medicinenet.com, ADHD refers to a chronic disorder that initially manifests in childhood and is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or inattention. It is diagnosed roughly 5-10 times more often in boys than in girls, but is thought to be only actually only slightly more prevalent in men than in women (In sample tests, men were 1-2 times more likely to have ADD/ADHD than women.) Why the discrepancy? Boys are more likely to have hyperactivity than girls, and any kid who can’t sit still and is making a lot of noise is more likely to get noticed than a other kid who is quietly not paying attention. Girls also tend to be hyperactive in different ways, hyperactive boys tend to be fidgety and aggressive, whereas hyperactive girls often just talk a lot. Some people believe that guidelines for the diagnosis of ADHD are skewed more towards the ways boys display ADHD, which leads to fewer diagnosis for girls who need it.
The problems caused by ADHD can be vastly improved by relatively simple measures: organizational tools, counseling and drugs. But most of the ADHD drugs tests for children are done on white males, so it is unclear if those drugs are equally effective for children who aren’t white and male.
Technology can do a lot to help children and adults with ADD/ADHD, but many girls with ADHD are overlooked because of their gender. I wonder if this is also the case for some learning disabilities, or other behavioral disorders?