• Thu. May 19th, 2022

Lawrence’s wives start support group for girls with ADHD – The Lawrence Times

A new support group is forming in Lawrence to provide a safe space for the growing number of girls and young women who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Created by Meagan Lohmeyer and Jenny Baker Powers, The Green House aims to provide young women with ADHD with a forum where they can discuss the challenges they face when coping with an illness that can sometimes feel quite isolating.

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The idea for The Green House came after Lohmeyer’s daughter, Bella Ogborn, was diagnosed with ADHD in the summer of 2021. She had always been a brilliant student and athlete, but during her freshman year at Bishop Seabury, Ogborn suddenly found herself grappling with things that other teenagers seemed to navigate naturally.

Photo added Bella Ogborn

“I always had to catch up on work and talk with the teachers to try to stay on track,” Ogborn said. “I knew something was wrong. I was getting frustrated with people who thought I was lazy. I didn’t want people to see me as someone who didn’t care about my grades and stuff like that.

Baker Powers, learning support specialist at Bishop Seabury, said she knew Ogborn’s struggles weren’t due to lack of effort.

“I saw how hard she worked,” Baker Powers said. “Obviously she’s a smart young person. It wasn’t that she couldn’t.

After school was over, Lohmeyer took Ogborn to KU’s Child and Family Services Clinic, which offers services including developmental and psychological assessments on a sliding scale to anyone in the north. -eastern Kansas. A series of tests administered over several weeks led to an increasingly common diagnosis among young women: ADHD accompanied by anxiety and depression.

First identified in 1902, ADHD is a disorder that is most often identified during the elementary school years, but can be diagnosed in adulthood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 6.1 million children ages 2 to 17, or 9.4 percent, were diagnosed with ADHD in 2016.

Photo added Meagan Lohmeyer

Studies estimate that about half of all children with ADHD are girls, but statistically boys are more than twice as likely to receive the diagnosis. Research published by the National Institutes of Health attributes some of the discrepancy to symptom differences and common accompanying disorders that make ADHD very different. Symptoms in boys, for example, frequently manifest as hyperactivity, while girls often internalize feelings leading to behaviors that are more like inattention.

An educator for over 25 years, Baker Powers is also the owner of What a Little Birdy Told me, a counseling company for families seeking help with behavioral issues and school-related issues. Her own daughter, who was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, seemed to be fine until she graduated from high school, but struggled to cope with college life. Baker Powers said she didn’t recognize the symptoms of ADHD at the time, which prevented her daughter from having a diagnosis or tools that could have helped her earlier in life.

“I spent a lot of time regretting telling him to work harder and try harder,” she said. “It was difficult for me to identify with myself. I regret not having been more supportive. I wish I had handled this differently as a mother.

Lohmeyer, too, didn’t realize at first that Ogborn’s struggles had to do with a disorder rather than just typical teenage behaviors.

Because ADHD symptoms are often inward looking in girls and women, anxiety and depression frequently accompany a diagnosis. Lohmeyer said she feared her warnings would cause Ogborn additional stress.

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“As girls and women, we are made to come together, to put on a face and keep things closed,” Lohmeyer said. “She has internalized a lot of things, which perpetuates this vicious cycle.”

Both Lohmeyer and Baker Powers said that while it was good to have a strong support system through family and school, they both saw the need for a space where girls and young women diagnosed with ADHD could come together and talk about the issues they face.

Ruby Powers / Submitted Powers of Jenny Baker

Ogborn agreed that while it was nice to have adults to help, it was no substitute for being able to talk to peers with similar difficulties.

“I have a lot of support systems around me and everyone is always helping me out,” Ogborn said. “At the same time, it gets a bit harsh. They are sometimes frustrated with me. They don’t understand what it does.

Baker Powers said the feeling of being alone and misunderstood led to the idea of ​​The Green House. Ever since they started sharing information about it, there has been a lot of interest in the new group. Although the first group is aimed at young women, Baker Powers said the Green House was created on inclusivity and could expand as needed to accommodate other groups.

Currently, the plan of meetings is somewhat amorphous. Initially there will be some direction from Baker Powers, but the goal is for the members to lead and eventually lead the group in the direction that suits their needs.

“We hope these girls can share strategies together,” she said. “Like anything else in life, if it’s coming from someone with a shared experience, it’s going to be more relevant.”

The Green House, which plans to meet on the third Sunday of each month, will have meetings at Studio 1 at 512 E. Ninth St. The first meeting is scheduled for 1:30-2:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 20.

Find more information about The Green House online at whatalittlebirdytoldme.com.

To note: Article updated to add photos at 4:10 p.m. Sunday February 6

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Andrea Albright (she/her), journalist, can be contacted at aalbright (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more about his work for The Times here. Check out his staff biography here.

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