Neoliberal, Marxist, and Intersectional Justice approaches to Neurodiversity

A great article on approaches to neurodiversity!

Critical Neurodiversity

A black and white photo of the head and shoulders of a statue of Karl Marx staring into the distance. Copyright: wal_172619/Pixabay

Three Approaches

I’ve written before about how the concept of neurodiversity means different things to different people (see here and here). I want to build on this by thinking through some different approaches to neurodiversity advocacy. This should be seen as a first attempt to clarify these different approaches rather than the final word.

The three quasi-sociological categories I propose are Neoliberal Neurodiversity, Marxist Neurodiversity, and Intersectional Justice Neurodiversity. Each is defined more by emphasis rather than core traits. In practice, most of us sit somewhere between two or more of these, but each of us will likely veer more towards one or another nonetheless.

I am suggesting these distinctions since getting clearer about such differences will be helpful for understanding how best to cultivate real world…

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Mind agree to feature information about ADHD

As the year comes to a close, we want to share a victory from 2020 that we are very proud of. With help from Priscilla Eyles in particular, Mind have finally agreed to host a page with information about ADHD. The page is a bit hard to find on their website (you have to actively search for ADHD) but it as least there and ADHD is finally being acknowledged as a real condition with real mental health implications. We have been working on this since 2017, and can’t count how many emails we have sent Mind about it, so we’re very pleased. Hooray!

We will continue to work on getting Mind to recognise ADHD as a mental health disorder that is neurodevelopmental in nature, and to include more detailed information on it, including on their general information pages.

If you have been involved in any way, whether by emailling Mind yourself or retweeting us, thank you for your support!

ADHD Petition

Please take the time to sign this petition for a debate to be held in Parliament on the funding and availability of adult ADHD services in the UK.

Link to petition:

This petition has been started by George Sharpe, a man with ADHD who is reiterating the messages at the heart of our campaign and of many other ADHD charities across the UK. His experience mirrors that of so many people in the UK who have untreated ADHD and whose lives could be radically different if they just had access to a diagnosis and treatment without years on a waiting list first.

We have great respect for George and would like to publically state that Attention UK absolutely supports this petition.

We would be happy to provide any amount of evidence-based statistics or information about ADHD that may assist either George in his petition or a debate in Parliament on this topic.

#SpeakUp2020 – an opportunity for ADHD!

This week, Healthwatch are running a survey encouraging service users across the UK to speak up about their experiences of health and social care. The hashtag for this is #SpeakUp2020 and the survey is available at You can also contribute by emailing your local Healthwatch directly – a list of all localities and their email addresses is here:

This seems like a great opportunity for us to get our voices heard about the lack of ADHD provision across the UK. With this in mind, please use this template email to contact your local Healthwatch about your experiences:

Dear Healthwatch,

As part of #SpeakUp2020 I am contacting you to get my voice heard. Please accept this email as a submission as it was more accessible for me to contact you this way than to fill in the online survey. My submission is about the local ADHD services in my area as well as the national lack of services for adults with ADHD in the UK. I live in <enter where you live> and there are major problems with accessing ADHD services. I have been waiting for <enter time you have been waiting for> to get seen for an assessment, and this would never be the case if it was a physical condition. This isn’t fair – ADHD is a recognised disability under the Equality Act (2010) and without treatment it causes so much pain to those who have it.

In 2017, Healthwatch in York wrote this report all about the problem in that area: It would be amazing if a study like this could be extended to other areas. The stories in this report are the same for people all around the UK so please do read them to get an idea of what I and other people with this condition are having to go through at the moment.

The prevalence of ADHD is approximately 5%, so that means that in the UK there are around 3,394,301 (3 million, 394 thousand and 301) people with ADHD. But of all of those people, only 2.3% of the adults have had access to a diagnosis and only 0.1% of us have been able to access treatment. Because of the way ADHD has been portrayed in the media, people think it’s ‘easy’ to get an ADHD diagnosis when actually it is impossible. Some doctors still even believe that ADHD isn’t real or only affects children, and we all experience so much stigma if we even mention ADHD even though all controversy around ADHD has now been disproved by brain imaging technology. All across the UK people with ADHD are marginalised and our voices don’t get heard as we struggle with paperwork and forms. Please help us by looking into this problem, as it is a national problem and up and down the UK we are being let down by the NHS. You can see how much of a postcode lottery this is by looking at this map: and to see the evidence for all of these statistics and how much of an impact undiagnosed ADHD is having on the UK, please look at

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my email and please let me know if you have any questions.

Many thanks,

<your name>

Where are we now?

When we first launched this campaign in March 2017, there were no other campaigns like it existing in the UK.

In government, only a small handful of politicians (specifically: Jeremy Corbyn, Norman Lamb, Annette Brooke, Gregory Campbell, Martin Caton, David Simpson, Dr William McCrea and Margaret Ritchie) had mentioned ADHD, proposed a motion to support, or even voted on a motion in support of ADHD for over thirteen years.

Since we launched #AttentionUK in March 2017, the tide has shown signs of turning. 

Organisations such as ADHD Action have backed our call for better ADHD services, and Jo Platt has committed herself to the new APPG on ADHD, for which we are deeply grateful.

The #ITakeMyPillsBecause hashtag, started by the wonderful Jessica of @howtoADHD, gained international traction in response to a damaging Netflix production which perpetuated stigma on medicating for ADHD. Jessica was already a great ADHD ambassador long before our campaign was founded, and if you’re not familiar with her already, we’d strongly recommend checking out her YouTube channel (@howtoADHD) for any and all of your ADHD-video related needs!

Additionally, Mr Daniel Johnson MSP has spoken out about ADHD stigmatisation in Parliament and on social media. The nature of politics makes it extremely unusual for any politician to share anything about their personal opinions or private life which could cause any possible risk to their reputation. Daniel Johnson, however, has not only been willing to risk media criticism by defending the use of medication for ADHD, but he has even made his own ADHD diagnosis and medication status public in a show of true solidarity with all adults with ADHD in the UK. His courage and determination is inspirational, and he is an ambassador to us all.

We have launched our own Media Guidelines to try and tackle the ongoing problems of misrepresentation and stigmatisation of ADHD in the media. The guidelines are shaped by other existing guidelines for other mental health conditions as well as the opinions of people with ADHD in the UK who we canvassed at the time of writing. 

Despite all of these happy developments, there is still such a long way to go, and with every happy story comes another stigmatising headline or misrepresentative media portrayal.  So far we haven’t actually seen any real change, or even any commitment to change, from our government. We need to keep fighting.