We spent this past weekend at the excellent Learning and the Brain Conference in Washington, DC., the theme of which was Using Brain Research to Enchance Student Attention and Engagement in Learning.
We'll be sharing our thoughts on several of the sessions we attended, and want to begin with a talk by Patricia Quinn, MD, who has written several books dealing with girls and attention difficulties and who gave a compelling presentation about the underdiagnosis of attention problems in girls. Since girls tend to present with symptoms of inattention rather than hyperactivity, their symptoms are often unappreciated by teachers and even parents and and they suffer in silence.
Dr. Quinn noted that girls with weak attention often present with social difficulties, anxiety, and depression and she shared one report in which 40% of teachers surveyed indicated that they were unable to identify girls with attention difficulties. This reinforces our belief that it is crucial to examine the individual components of learning and behavior to see what is really going on when children struggle.