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Girls and ADHD: Why the Disorder Looks so Different in Girls and Boys

November 25th, 2013

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is often associated with behavioral problems such as acting impulsively or disruptively. It is also diagnosed in boys three times more frequently than in girls. While the disorder does affect girls, symptoms may be harder to identify.

According to experts, the symptoms of ADHD are actually identical for boys and girls, but they often manifest differently. The symptoms include issues with concentration, attention and focus. The difference is that girls are more likely to attempt to hide their difficulties. While a boy with ADHD may be hyperactive, a girl with ADHD may be withdrawn. Girls with ADHD may try to avoid letting anyone know that they are distracted or not paying attention. Such behavior is often interpreted simply as shyness and is not readily associated with ADHD.

For girls, ADHD is also often connected to self-esteem issues. A girl who has trouble paying attention in school may say she is not as smart as the other children or that she does not like going to school. While her difficulties with concentration may be reflected in her school performance, ADHD is often not suspected simply because the girl is not disruptive but is instead withdrawn.

Another type of behavior that may be connected to ADHD is perfectionism. Girls with attention issues may try to hide their symptoms and control their world by engaging in the type of over-organization behavior more commonly associated with obsessive compulsive disorder.

If a parent suspects a daughter may have ADHD, a good first step is to talk to her teachers about how she compares to other girls her age. Further insight can be gained by talking with a school psychologist, school nurse, or pediatrician.

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State Aid for Developmentally Disabled Restored

November 15th, 2013

A bill to restore $90 million in funding for services for people who are developmentally disabled was passed by the New York state legislature and signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The bill was sponsored by Assemb. Harvey Weisenberg, Democrat of Long Beach and Sen. Martin Golden, Democrat of Brooklyn. The legislation was in response to Gov. Cuomo’s 2013-14 budget proposal, which called for the cuts to the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

Gov. Cuomo said that the cuts were enacted after the federal government cut $1.1 billion in funding to New York. The state owes the federal government approximately $3 billion for overcharging Medicaid for a period of decades.

In addition to restoring the funding, the law calls for a working group to investigate how programs for the developmentally disabled can be made more efficient in order to save $90 million in spending without impacting programs for disabled people.

Gov. Cuomo said the legislation was another step in improving services for disabled people in New York and that the state was committed to upholding the strongest standards in the country to protect vulnerable people. Assemb. Weisenberg thanked Gov. Cuomo for restoring the funding.

Advocates for developmentally disabled people applauded the new law, saying that the funding was crucial to providing needed services for disabled citizens.

The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities coordinates services for about 126,000 people with developmental disabilities, including cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, and other neurological disabilities. The agency provides services directly and through about 700 nonprofit agencies.

Services that the agency provides include Medicaid-funded long-term care services and residential support services. In the decades since the agency was founded in 1978, the way services are provided has shifted from institutional settings to community settings. Because of the need for intensive treatment, approximately 1,200 developmentally disabled people in the state continue to receive treatment in an institutional setting, down from about 30,000 in the 1970s.

In addition to Medicaid services, the agency provides family support services which are designed to help families with care for their loved ones with special needs who live at home. The agency also provides employment support to help developmentally disabled people with job coaching and vocational training.

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