Ask the Experts

Dear Organizing Coach: Could My Daughter Have ADD?

Your teenage daughter suddenly starts flunking her classes and acting out. Could it be ADD? Or is something else going on? Our organizing coach offers advice on trusting your gut, and knowing when to seek an evaluation.

A teen girl with ADHD struggling to do her homework
Sad teen girl with hands over face with white lamp

Q: “My 8th grade daughter (age 14) is now flunking two classes. In the process of researching her problems, I came across an ADD questionnaire for girls to complete. She checked 28 out of 35. Her father and older brother are both diagnosed with ADD, but her father does not believe she has ADD. I’ve tried to explain that ADD can present differently in girls, but he thinks it is something else. He feels that when she doesn’t do her homework, it’s just her not wanting to do it, and has nothing to do with concentration. Our daughter did great in elementary school, started struggling a little last year, and this year has been a total nightmare for her. Is it possible that she does have ADD? I don’t want to take the wrong course of action in treating her, if she doesn’t have ADD. I’m just worried about her because I’ve never seen her this frustrated and depressed. Please help.” —Concerned Mom


Dear Concerned Mom:

I want to applaud you for wanting to do right by your daughter. It is not always easy to identify the right course of action or the most appropriate steps when you think your child has attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD). It can be lonely and confusing. But on the other hand, I truly believe in relying on parental instincts. And, in your case, your daughter is telling you (very clearly it seems) that she is struggling at home and at school.

I must be honest and say that I grappled with answering this question since I can’t truly say whether your daughter has ADHD. But what I can say is if you are concerned about taking the right path please consider getting a second opinion.

People don’t hesitate to do this when presented with a serious physical issue such as a course of treatment or surgery. It shouldn’t be any different for parents considering ADHD treatments for their child. And if you do decide to go for a second opinion or even return to your original doctor, perhaps your daughter’s father can join as well. With all of you present, everyone’s questions and concerns can be fully addressed.

Good Luck!


Organization guru Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, will answer questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.

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