Update 1 1/2 years later: it took two assessments–the first one came out inconclusive, and the second, with another therapist, came out ADHD-inattentive. That was just a few months ago. The difference may have been the new therapist, but I think it was also that my daughter finally started struggling more in school, which I’ve read sometimes happens around age 9 / 4th grade. They needed to see symptoms in multiple environments. We also asked my parents, who spend a lot of time with her, to fill out the assessments. Maybe that helped too.
We tried her out on Ritalin, and she instantly had more focus and fewer meltdowns. I wouldn’t say it’s a “game changer” like the way I’ve heard other parents talk about it, but it definitely helps.
Another thing that’s helped me tremendously is joining a “parents of girls with ADHD” group on Facebook. It’s a relief to hear from people with girls like mine–there are so many commonalities, sometimes really funny ones, like their insanely messy rooms or the way all the scissors in the house go missing, no matter how many you have, but there’s also a lot of support about specific challenges with girls with ADHD. There are a lot of people on there who haven’t got diagnoses yet, and I now have a real sense that there’s a blind spot among practitioners about how ADHD looks in girls.
Oh, also, I was talking about her social skills in the original post. Things have improved there! She’s still high drama and has some trouble maintaining friendships unless the other kid is freakishly passive, and she gets worried and paranoid about anything she perceives as negative, but she’s made a ton of friends and progress. Of course the pandemic could be putting a real crimp in that, but it could also protect her from some of the more intense 5th grade social horrors–we’ll see.