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The editorial team warmly welcome Mrs. Professor Lena Dominelli, and Mr. Professor Malcolm Payne, two prominent internationally social work personalities who have kindly accepted to be part of our journal’s International Advisory Board starting with issue no. 1/2010.
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Homepage > Archive > Numar: 2 > Who is in Need of Empowerment? Social Work and Young People with ADHD

 Who is in Need of Empowerment? Social Work and Young People with ADHD

  • Maja Lundemark Andersen (Aalborg University, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Kroghsstræde 7, 9220 Aalborg Oest, +4527647548,

Issues related to ADHD are increasingly common in social work. A growing number of children, youths and adults are diagnosed with ADHD, and they often face complex social challenges. Many of them need support from the social system. At the same time, research on ADHD is dominated by a biomedical approach centred on the effect of diagnosis on children. This article is intended both as a sociological contribution to ADHD-research and an attempt to address the development in social work. 13 interviews shed light on how young adults with ADHD make sense of their diagnosis and how they experience interaction with the social system. Taking a user-oriented approach, the study shows that the informants create individual narratives about ADHD. Subsequently, the diagnosis expresses itself in different ways that are difficult to encompass for welfare professionals who work on the basis of available research in a system that cannot contain the complex issues presented by ADHD clients. As a consequence, many ADHD clients experience the support they receive from the social system as severely inadequate and sometimes disempowering. Following these findings the article suggests that future social work in this area should take users' own problem definitions as a starting point and go on to create an empowering approach together with the service users.

Keywords: ADHD clients, social work, empowerment, user orientation, narratives