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The Face of ADHD That Goes Unnoticed

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My daughter is a question mark.

She’s confusing to specialists and her parents alike. It seems there has been some speculation from minds larger than mine that she may or may not have inattentive attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

She could be one way, she could be another, they just don’t know. And that, my friends, is where I lose my sh*t.

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I entered into the land of acronyms, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and those bigger minds I mentioned long before my daughter was even a twinkle in my husbands eye. My son was more of a sure thing, everyone seemed to feel the same way — something isn’t right with this one. After a long heartbreaking trip through a maze of specialists and people that felt they had the right to offer up their opinion, it was finally decided that his chronic ear infections had caused a severe speech delay due to hearing loss.

His tantrums were his frustration at being unable to communicate with anyone and not the autism a few preschool teachers seemed sure that he had. Pretty sure those ladies got their certifications at the Vidal Sassoon Hair Institute, but I digress. A couple of years of speech therapy and we were in the clear.

There is a lot of talk about how quick we are to slap the ADD/ADHD label on a misunderstood kid. To a point, I agree with this summation. When a little boy is tearing his classroom apart with no thought to consequences and can not for the life of him quiet his mind, it may be time to step in. There are also little boys that never stop talking, are constantly moving, and listen when the teacher says stop. Two different boys, but an outsider looking in might think both have some degree of ADHD. The reality is, boy number one may need some extra help, boy number two may just be an animated and active kid.

People are quick to zone in on the boys, but guess what? See that quiet little thing in the back of the classroom with the dreamy look on her face? See how she’s not popular with the other girls? Yep, that’s my girl, and possibly a different face of ADHD.


Inattentive ADHD is a different shade on the same rainbow. Most of the time when it manifests itself in girls it goes unnoticed. My little one does not act out, does not disobey, and anything going on inside her head that confuses her stays right there.

For a moment I was crazed with that same proactive attitude I had with her brother — must get help now, early intervention is key, something is different here and only a team of specialists can make it right. So I made the appointments, took her to the evaluations, and was only given a question mark this time.

After taking a step back and giving it thought, I figured out something. This is about me, not her. My fear is that she will go into the public school system and get lost in the shuffle.With no paperwork in place, how can she be successful? The answer came to me with that question mark. How will we know unless we try? This time there will be no guide for my daughter’s journey. It will be a trial by fire for her and I.

Maybe we will find our way back into those offices in time, but for now I’ll just relax and take her for what she is. She is beautiful, smart, loving, loyal to a fault, and stubborn beyond my conception. There is no map for how she should be and maybe that’s the perfect answer.


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Originally published: April 23, 2015
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