Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as a Disability Category: A Critique

Robert Reid, John W. Maag, Stanley F. Vasa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Scopus citations


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has generated a great deal of interest recently among the special education profession. Various groups have advocated making ADHD a separate disability category under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. As a result, children with this disorder would be eligible for special education services. Proponents argue that at least 50% of students with ADHD currently are not receiving special education services they require under existing categories. The argument for considering ADHD as a disability category rests on the assumption that it is a valid psychiatric disorder and is characterized by academic difficulties. We challenge the validity of these assumptions and examine social and cultural factors we believe fuel the perceived need for ADHD as a new disability category.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-214
Number of pages17
JournalExceptional Children
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1993


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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