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ADHD affects boys and girls equally.
Girls are just as likely to have ADHD as boys are, and gender makes no difference in the symptoms caused by the disorder. But because the myth persists that ADHD affects only boys, they are more likely than girls to be diagnosed with the disorder.
ADHD is a matter of brain chemistry, not bad parenting.
When a child with ADHD blurts out comments or gets out of her seat in class, it's not because she hasn't been taught that these behaviors are inappropriate. It's because she can't control her impulses. The problem is rooted in brain chemistry, not discipline. In fact, overly strict parenting — which may involve punishing a child for things she can't control — can sometimes make ADHD symptoms worse.
Being treated for ADHD decreases the likelihood that a child will abuse drugs as a teenager.
Having untreated ADHD increases the risk that an individual will abuse drugs or alcohol. Appropriate treatment reduces this risk.
The medications used to treat ADHD have been proven safe and effective for more than 50 years of use. The drugs do not turn kids into addicts or "zombies," and they don't cure ADHD, but they are highly effective at relieving symptoms of the disorder.
ADHDers can be highly successful.
People with the condition are generally of above-average intelligence, recent studies show. In fact, a number of well-known, high-achieving individuals from the past are thought to have had ADHD, including Mozart, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, George Bernard Shaw and Salvador Dali. The list of successful ADHDers in business today includes top executives such as David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airways, and Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko's.
Aside from being a myth buster, there's plenty more that you can do to spread ADHD awareness. Write a letter to the editor or an op-ed piece for your local newspaper, lobby your library to carry and display leading ADHD books, or work with the PTA at your child's school to create an educational workshop about the condition.