Problems with The Defintition
ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurodivergent profile that typically affects attention and behaviour.
What a misleading definition. Fortunately we know better. Russell Barkley's describes ADHD as Executive Dysfunction and Emotional Dysregulation!
Barkley's model highlights two areas: 1) the role of executive functions, which are higher-order cognitive processes responsible for planning, organizing, initiating, and regulating behaviour. He emphasizes that deficits in executive functions are central to understanding the challenges faced by individuals with ADHD. And 2) Emotional dysregulation: ADHDers may experience heightened emotional responses, mood swings, and difficulty regulating their emotions.
The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), a widely used diagnostic tool, has been subject to criticism for both the definition of ADHD and its pathologizing language and the potential for stigma associated with its diagnostic categories. Rewriting the DSM criteria to be more neurodivergent affirming would require significant revisions and a shift in perspective and we are not quite there yet but we are moving in the right direction.
Still it must be noted that while we understand ADHD much better we still have to use the DSM-5-TR to diagnose ADHD so in some ways we still sit with one foot in each camp.
ADHDers Experience Challenges in Social Situations
ADHDers might miss important details, have trouble following conversations, or appear distracted, which can impact their ability to fully engage with others.
ADHDers might interrupt others, have a tendency to speak without thinking, or struggle with taking turns in conversation
Executive function deficits in ADHD can impact organizational skills and the ability to plan social activities. This might result in missed social events, forgetfulness about plans, or challenges in coordinating activities with others.
Emotional dysregulation is a common aspect of ADHD. Individuals may have difficulty managing their emotions, leading to mood swings or emotional reactions that can affect their relationships with others.
Have a think about your Communication Style and Social Interactions:
Let's Talk Autism and ADHD
There is often an overlap between Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) / Autism and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), that's why we often times assess for both!
The co-occurrence of Autism and ADHD is not uncommon, and research has identified shared characteristics as well as distinct features for each:
ASD and ADHD share certain behavioral features, such as difficulties with attention, executive function, and social interactions. For example, challenges in sustaining attention, impulse control, and social communication difficulties can be present in both.
Some studies suggest commonalities in the neurodevelopmental patterns of ASD and ADHD.
Despite the overlap, ASD and ADHD have distinct features. ASD is characterized by challenges in social communication and the presence of restrictive and repetitive behaviours, while ADHD is characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
Each person is unique, and the expression of ASD and ADHD can vary widely. Some individuals may predominantly display characteristics of one disorder, while others may exhibit a combination of features from both.
Different is Difficult
it is not a Superpower
Autism & Masking
Masking is a term used to describe the practice of hiding one's autistic traits or behaviours in social situations. It often involves mimicking neurotypical behaviour, such as making eye contact, mirroring body language, and suppressing stimming (self-stimulatory behaviour).
Masking can be exhausting and can lead to burnout, anxiety, and depression. It can also lead to misdiagnosis or underdiagnosis of autism, particularly in women and non-binary individuals.
Research suggests that masking is common in autistic individuals, particularly in those who are diagnosed later in life or who have higher levels of social communication ability. Studies have also found that masking can be associated with increased levels of stress and mental health difficulties.