It's not perfect, but the ADHD label matters. Here's why,
Why is the ADHD label important?
Labels that seek to specify and differentiate the lived experience of individuals previously considered ‘outside the norm’ are crucial, because they push past the stereotypes of ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’, instead promoting and celebrating the concept of neurodiversity in all its forms and recognising the strength in biodiversity.
Why is the ADHD label misleading?
1. It oversimplifies the traits of the condition down to just the attention and hyperactivity domains
2. We don’t have an attention deficit, we have a surplus / intensity of attention, and trouble controlling where & when we give it
Should we just throw out the label then?
Not yet. The ADHD label may need some work, but it also represents the only scientific body of evidence we have that demonstrates that these neurobiological differences are legitimate, impactful (and in many cases) extremely debilitating. The only current way that someone with ADHD is able to get significant support, in medication, therapy and workplace accommodations, is by being diagnosed using this label.
Do we need an ADHD label at all?
Yes. Until neurodiversity and inclusivity is the natural and accepted understanding on a political, educational, institutional and cultural/interpersonal level, we need to unite under this label and fiercely push forward to create a world more suited to support and empower those with brain-based differences.
ADHD can be a 'bridge label'
It may not be perfect, but it's taking us where we want to go. We at Future ADHD (and so many others) are working to educate, de-stigmatise and de-mystify the complexities of this unique brain wiring, and are using ADHD as a 'bridge label' to gather our tribe, be a searchable source of information, and grow a community who want to help shape the future of ADHD.
“Diversity among brains is just as wonderfully enriching as biodiversity, and the diversity among cultures and races.”
— Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D, author of The Power of Neurodiversity (2010)