Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a medical diagnosis, applied mainly but not exclusively to children. Diagnosis of ADHD is a controversial issue as the validity of the condition is questioned, and the main form of intervention offered to children in the UK is Methylphenidate, better known as Ritalin, which is a psycho-stimulant. It is also controversial because it rests on the assumption of a particularly westernised cultural conception of what 'normal' childhood behaviour should be, yet dominant discourses of child development and socialisation have influenced this view of children as less competent, immature and in need of moulding to fit societal demands. The orthodox position on ADHD also appears to compound this assumption, as research which includes the experiential accounts of children who have the diagnosis is extremely rare. Children's own views and perceptions of the diagnosis have not been valued.\ud This thesis is based on in-depth qualitative interviews with seven children aged between 6 and 15 and their parents, plus a small-scale parental survey. In addition, observations of health care professionals' practice, carried out at a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, will help to demonstrate that only by giving full consideration to the complexity of medical and lay perspectives can an understanding of ADHD as a concept, a condition, a label, and an experience be achieved.\ud In this study 'medicalisation' debates have been used as a means of reflecting on the concept of AD}ID. It is suggested that within the health professional/parent/child triangle dominant discourses position children as passive and dependenwith their health being mediated through their parents. By drawing attention to the embodied nature of the experience and meaning of ADHD it will be shown that the valuable and insightful contributions which children and young people make to the health care division of labour have largely been neglected to date
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