In the accepted view of ADHD, we tell people that they have a permanent disorder. They learn that their brains are less capable of doing self-management. This developmental delay called “ADHD” renders them less able to organize their behavior for longer-term success. They will always be more dependent on external forms of assistance when trying to meet expectations.
When told about their disability, the expectation is that the “afflicted” person will have a grief response. He or she will go through a mourning process. But in the end, they will know why their life has been in shambles. That awareness will comfort them. They will know that ADHD is not their fault, and they can seek the necessary assistance from medicine and other forms of compensation. Impaired Individuals can accept the view that they are “unable”, and they can abandon efforts to self-manage without regret.
In the alternative view, ADHD responses have psychological meaning; the responses are not “defective"or “lacking in control.” The responses are ways to deal with discomfort, and they occur in particular situations. Yes, the responses can lead to many unwanted consequences, but they also yield advantages that are difficult to ignore. People with ADHD may have all kinds of disorders and problems, but ADHD behavior is not “disordered.”
There is a presumption of competence, and the anticipation that those diagnosed with ADHD can alter their ways of coping. Instead of mourning the presence of a disability, psychological sense is made of the socially unacceptable responses. Rather than infer incapacity, treatment changes responses to adversity. Increased familiarity with the situations that trigger the reactions and alternative ways to handle the problematic circumstances become the focus of therapy. The inadvertent reinforcement of the behavior comes to an end, and self-reliance and cooperation is fostered.
People with ADHD learn that the behaviors are frequent due to reinforcement; the label does not imply defect, disruption, or delay. There is great power in this understanding. When people recognize that they are doing ADHD, they can learn to do something else.
ADHD responding is a way to cope with not having what you want and not liking what you have. Those diagnosed with ADHD can learn to handle these situations in a socially acceptable fashion through the introduction of new learning.