As a special ed teacher I disagree with both the notion that kids are over-identified and that kids are under-identified with ADHD or ADD or even Autism, for that matter. I think for a while kids were over identified, but I don't find that to be true anymore.
ADD and ADHD do not have a special ed label anyway, so it's not like a teacher can diagnose a kid with it. And there's no blood test for any of it, but when a child has it, they have it. It would be obvious to any doctor or parent. There are borderline kids, definitely, but daaaaang spend five minutes with a kid who isn't, and those borderline kids are looking pretty dang good.
We've gone back and forth about Cassidy and ADD or even Asperger's. We have ADD/ADHD alllll over in my family--cousins and uncles, probably even a little bit me--and she has always been quite a bit different. It hasn't affected her negatively in her schoolwork or with her friends, but she's definitely gotten more emotional and has had some outbursts and crying jags already. There's a social-communication breakdown somewhere....and life is a little harder for her, but she's just now becoming aware of it.
As she gets older, it'll be a bit more obvious (socially, especially) and perhaps she'll need some help. Whether its an actual medical diagnosis and a subsequent plan at school or just some counseling and help with social skills, I don't know. I guess we'll see. But it's been consistent throughout her life and sometimes I feel really sad for her. Which is ironic, because she's the happiest little girl on earth. She's also the most oblivious child on earth. She's awesome.
I have had ADD concerns about my oldest daughter since she was in first grade....and she's powered through okay so far. She forgets assignments, loses her homework, still can't manage to do her chores, loses her train of thought constantly.....my concerns haven't gone away, but she's the very top student in her grade and adored by all, even if she drives her teachers CRAZY so so far we're doing things right. She's going to start switching classes this year and carrying an assignment book to help her stay on task. We'll see how it goes.
Both of my girls are in TAG.....the gifted program.....and that helps as well. They don't get bored as much, which helps them pay a bit more attention than they'd normally be able to.
The attention thing.....when it's obvious, it's obvious. The lack of hyperactivity makes it harder for parents to identify though. But it's more common for girls to have ADD and go unidentified until adulthood than most people realize.