Publication Details

Harwood, V. (2010). The New Outsiders: ADHD and Disadvantage, Chapter 3, in Graham, L.J. (Ed). (De)Constructing ADHD: Critical guidance for teachers and teacher educators. New York: Peter Lang, 119-142.


Recent research has pointed to the uneven distribution of diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, with disproportionately high numbers in areas marked by poverty (Gifford Sawyer et al., 2004; Olfsen et al., 2003). This chapter examines this issue of ADHD and social and economic disadvantage. Drawing on research with youth professionals from some of the most disadvantaged communities in Australia, the chapter puts forward the case that the ADHD phenomenon has highly problematic effects on the lives of children and young people in these communities. The intent is to show how the ADHD phenomenon interacts with disadvantage, and suggest how certain schooling practices that lead to the medicalization of child behavior have significant effects on people living in poverty.