I’m not a fan of the “ADHD” label because it stands for “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,” and the terms “deficit” and “disorder” absolutely reek of the pathology paradigm. I’ve frequently suggested replacing it with the term Kinetic Cognitive Style, or KCS; whether that particular suggestion ever catches on or not, I certainly hope that the ADHD label ends up getting replaced with something less pathologizing.
We here at Stimpunks long for an alternative label for ADHD to catch on. Kinetic Cognitive Style is a good and needed reframing.
Reframe these states of being that have been labelled deficiencies or pathologies as human differences.
“Kinetic” makes a good descriptor for the “ADHD” cognitive style for two important reasons:
- Kinetic captures the energy of diffuse attention distribution as well as the inertia of hyperfocus.
- Kinetic captures the need for plenty of large muscle movement and fidgeting.
ADHD or what I prefer to call Kinetic Cognitive Style (KCS) is another good example. (Nick Walker coined this alternative term.) The name ADHD implies that Kinetics like me have a deficit of attention, which could be the case as seen from a certain perspective. On the other hand, a better, more invariantly consistent perspective is that Kinetics distribute their attention differently. New research seems to point out that KCS was present at least as far back as the days in which humans lived in hunter-gatherer societies. In a sense, being a Kinetic in the days that humans were nomads would have been a great advantage. As hunters they would have noticed any changes in their surroundings more easily, and they would have been more active and ready for the hunt. In modern society it is seen as a disorder, but this again is more of a value judgment than a scientific fact.
KCS reconceptualizes cognitive difference in a manner that allows Kinetics to live authentically.
I seek a reconceptualization of cognitive difference, to the end that those who bear now-stigmatizing labels of “deviance,” “disorder” and “syndrome,” may live and manifest their individuality, distinctive interests, gifts and capacities with integrity, in a manner that comes naturally to them, free of pressure to become people they are not, free of the automatic assignation of inferior status; and that they may enjoy the respect of their fellow citizens, rather than disdain and exclusion.
KCS recognizes and celebrates that “attention and its partner, interest, operate differently according to the type of brain one has.”
Whether we align our interests with others as in polytropism or follow the dictation of our dominant interest, as in monotropism, it’s all about ‘interest’.
The most important discovery I have made is that attention and its partner, interest, operate differently according to the type of brain one has. By ‘type’ of brain I mean whether you are AS or NT. Murray’s work on monotropism (tightly focused interest) and polytropism (diffused interests) (Murray 1986, 1992, 1995, 1996) is foundational to this thinking.