Q: Some professionals don’t use the term “symptoms” referring to ADHD behaviours. Why is this?

A: Professionals who see ADHD as a neuro-atypicality rather than a “mental illness” will refer to the behaviours characteristic of ADHD as “behaviours”. Their viewpoint is that ADHD is not a “mental illness”. They see it as a difference – as neuro-atypicality. As a minority experience for approximately 5% of the population. They believe that behaviour can be viewed and measured via its dimensions. They note that we all behave and behaviour has to be in a context and relating to a task. Behaviour can be analysed by looking at its frequency; duration; intensity; latency; topography; context – and in some cases, developmental appropriateness. When assessing a behaviour the dimensions can be analysed with respect to how often it occurs – too much, too little, ought not to occur, needs to be learnt; how long it occurs – too long; not long enough; not at all; not intense enough, too intensely; too immediately, taking too long; what it is experienced as – the “shape” of it; the situation in which it occurs. Developmental appropriateness is generally not pertinent to adult ADHD – it is usually relevant to children, adolescents and elders.

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