Symptom Tests for Children

A Female ADHD Test: Common Symptoms in Girls

ADHD often looks different in girls. It is sometimes easy to mistake for hormones, anxiety, or a learning disability. And for this reason, too many girls grow up feeling misunderstood. This ADD self-test was designed for girls or teens themselves to take and may help clarify symptoms.

Girls with ADHD are more likely than their male counterparts to demonstrate inattentive symptoms. These inattentive girls are the ones staring out the window or picking their split ends or doodling incessantly when they should be listening in class. They may be called daydreamers or ditzy or worse. Early detection and effective treatment is essential to prevent real psychological damage.

Which is why psychologist Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D., has devised the following ADHD symptoms checklist specifically for girls. The following questions should be answered by girls themselves, not by parents and teachers, because girls experience ADHD more internally than do boys, who are more likely to exhibit externally hyperactive/impulsive symptoms.

Many of Nadeau’s questions apply to boys, since they pertain to problems with productivity, general distractibility, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and sleep. The statements below, however, are particularly oriented toward girls.

NOTE: The more questions you answer in the affirmative, the more likely you are to have symptoms that resemble those of girls with ADHD. This self-test is not intended to diagnose or to replace the care of a healthcare professional. Be sure to share your completed self-test with a healthcare professional. An accurate diagnosis can only be made through clinical evaluation. This self-test is for personal use only.

Even when I have something to say, I don’t raise my hand and volunteer in class.

I feel left out.

I feel embarrassed in class when I don’t know what the teacher told us to do.

I have arguments with my friends.

Other girls don’t like me and I don’t know why.

I worry more than other people do.

I get upset and angry more than other girls do.

I dread being called on by the teacher because I haven’t been listening carefully.

My feelings change.

I feel like I want to cry.

I get my feelings hurt more than most girls do.

I feel sad, without always knowing why.

When I want to join a group of girls, I don’t know how to approach them, or what to say.

I get stomachaches or headaches.

(Optional) Would you like to receive your ADHD symptom test results — plus more helpful resources — via email from ADDitude?

Can’t see the self-test questions above? Click here to open this test in a new window.

ADHD in Girls: Next Steps

1. Take This Test Inattentive ADHD Symptom Test for Children
2. Take This Test Full ADHD Symptoms Test for Children
3. Take This Test Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Children
4. Take This Test General Anxiety Disorder for Children
5. Learn Why ADHD in Girls is Often Overlooked
6. Research ADHD in Girls
7. Sign Up to Receive ADDitude’s Free “For Women with ADHD” Newsletter

14 Comments & Reviews

  1. Having grown up in the 1970s and 1980s as an undiagnosed girl with ADHD and Anxiety (finally diagnosed at age 40 in 2010) I think the “self test” for girls should have a few more questions about school. I was a social butterfly in school and had many friends – a few life long – I also listened as best I could in school. I TRIED as hard as I could even though my father (a middle school teacher for over 50 years now) and my teachers said I was “capable but didn’t try”. I was called a “polite but a daydreamer”. This really bothered me from about 1st grade because I never daydreamed – I listened to my teachers. I wanted to do well. I respected school and teachers but nothing I learned seemed to “stick” in my memory. I thought I was just stupid for 35 years. Until I read Dr Hallowell’s book Delivered from Distraction at age 39. I cried because the whole book nearly described my childhood and young adult years. I urge parents of all children – especially girls to seek advice from a doctor and/or therapist. Help your child to succeed in school and life by understanding that they are not lazy or stupid or they are not trying. Trust me. THEY ARE. Don’t wait for the pediatrician or a teacher to tell you your child needs help. It will be too late. Advocate for your own child – and look at yourself – your history – no one grows out of ADHD – it is how you were born. We don’t grow out of it or cure it but we learn to live with it in many ways-medications, reminder alarms, calendars, timers, too many to list here. Life can be good but only if you know about ADHD, talk about and love your children instead of blaming them for how their brain works. Girls with ADHD will be Women with ADHD – Strong, Creative, Fun, Intelligent, Amazing Girls and Women!

  2. Thanks for sharing your story. I, too, had issues in school as a kid. I was the class clown. I always made good grades but my report card always had a note to my parents -“Talks too much during class”, disturbs others who are still working”. I always got finished first (almost always!) & got restless. Aside from elementary school, nothing stands out. I have a Masters in Counseling Psychology & am in private practice working with PTSD, anxiety @ trauma. Not until I married a psychologist did ADD ever come up again.
    He pointed out my character flaws which happen to be symptoms of ADD! Perpetually late despite my best efforts to be on time. Failing to properly replace lids on jars, bottles. Finishing his sentences. That’s just a few! I was angry & defensive when he suggested I get tested. Easy enough to test myself so I did. I definitely met the diagnostic criteria. That was about 10 years ago. I have plugged into a lot of resources & have developed some functional coping mechanisms to simplify my life. I hate the diagnosis because there is a stigma attached to being ADD- like you’re a ditzy blonde airhead who forgets everything & can’t get anything done. Grrrr!! Even undiagnosed, I was successful in business and now have a one person office & manage quite well! I am, however, STILL perpetually late-10-12 minutes. I have tried EVERYTHING that’s out there, including hypnosis ($1000). I have come to accept that I will be late for my funeral!

  3. I feel so frustrated. I haven’t been diagnosed, as I am a teenager and I would need to talk to my parents first and they don’t suspect a thing, so I want to be fairly confident that I have it before I start the whole diagnosing process. I’m almost sure I have ADHD, I feel like I relate to most symptoms for women so perfectly, but then I take a test like this and only get moderate scores and I’m not sure anymore. I just feel myself wanting to cry because I just want answers, I know there’s something up but I don’t know what and I just want help. I wish I had people in my life to turn to and talk about this who know what it feels like, because I have no idea what to do next.

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