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(De)Constructing ADHD

Graham, Linda J. (ed.)

(De)Constructing ADHD

Critical Guidance for Teachers and Teacher Educators

Series: Disability Studies in Education - Volume 9

Year of Publication: 2010

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2010. XIV, 242 pp., num. ill.
ISBN 978-1-4331-0639-2 pb.  (Softcover)
ISBN 978-1-4331-0640-8 hb.  (Hardcover)

Weight: 0.350 kg, 0.772 lbs

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Book synopsis

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has achieved celebrity status in many Western countries, yet despite considerable effort to prove its existence as a «real» disorder, ADHD still suffers from a crisis of legitimacy. Nonetheless, diagnosis and prescription of medication has grown at a phenomenal rate since the late 1980s, particularly in Western culture. Numerous accounts exist explaining how the ADHD diagnosis functions as a convenient administrative loophole, providing schools with a medical explanation for school failure, medication to sedate the «problem» into submission, or the means to eject children from mainstream classrooms.
This book provides a more holistic interpretation of how to respond to children who might otherwise be diagnosed with and medicated for «ADHD» – a diagnosis which, whether scientifically valid or not, is unhelpful within the confine of the school. Training teachers to recognise and identify «ADHD symptoms» or to understand the functions of restricted pharmaceuticals will only serve to increase the number of children diagnosed and the sale of psychoactive medications. Research has shown that such activities will not help those children learn, nor will it empower their classroom teachers to take responsibility for teaching such children well. This book seeks to provide school practitioners with knowledge that is useful within the educational context to improve the educational experiences and outcomes for children who might otherwise receive a diagnosis of ADHD.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Linda J. Graham is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion at Macquarie University in Sydney. She completed her doctoral study, titled «Schooling Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders: Educational Systems of Formation and the ‘Disorderly’ School Child» in 2007, for which she received the Queensland University of Technology Outstanding Thesis Award for 2007 and the Australian Association for Research in Education Excellence in Doctoral Research Award for 2008. Her research interests concern the role of educational policy and practices in the medicalization of childhood and the improvement of responses to children who are difficult to teach.


«Linda Graham and her colleagues have worked together to produce an enormously important book. Far too often when children don’t do as we expect them to do they are labelled with some soubriquet of personal deficit. Graham and the contributors to this book skillfully deconstruct and powerfully challenge this tendency.» (Professor Gary Thomas, Chair in Inclusion and Diversity and Head of the School of Education, University of Birmingham, England)


Disability Studies in Education. Vol. 9
General Editors: Susan L. Gabel and Scot Danforth