Myth 1: behavioural disorders are just a fashionable excuse for bad behaviour or poor parenting

"He's not having a tantrum, he's struggling to cope with something - generally sensory overload." Mumsnetter Trigglesx


ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is the most common behavioural disorder in the UK, affecting 2-5% of school-aged children and young people. It's 'a valid clinical disorder... ADHD differs from the normal spectrum because there are high levels of hyperactivity/impulsivity and/or inattention that result in significant psychological, social and/or educational or occupational impairment.' (Source: NICE)

  • "Please don't assume that special educational needs (SEN) automatically means aggressive/bad behaviour/uncontrollable. Children with SEN can misunderstand situations and get frustrated due to their learning difficulties that arise, but they aren't to be feared." StarlightMckenzie

It is important to remember that people with ADHD cannot help their behaviour. (Source: NHS)

Many people with ADHD, and their parents or carers, experience stigma and other difficulties because of the symptoms and impairment associated with ADHD and current practice within healthcare and education. (Source: NICE)

Children with a disability, special educational needs or additional needs are routinely illegally excluded from school. Almost a quarter (22%) are illegally excluded at least once a week. This is having a devastating impact on their education and mental health, and on their parents' ability to hold down jobs. (Source: Contact A Family)

  • "Autism diagnosis and awareness are a lot better now, so it will seem like it's increasing." Rumours
  • "My child has selective mutism. It's not ELECTIVE mutism, it's SELECTIVE. He has no control over the anxiety that causes the words to freeze in his throat. He is not choosing not to speak, or being rude or controlling. He is overcome with anxiety, frozen with fear, in the way others with different phobias might be when they see a spider or a needle."ilikemysleep

Some people argue that Asperger syndrome is a 'middle-class condition' made up by parents, or a 'mild form of autism'.

In fact, Asperger syndrome is a real and disabling condition that has its own set of diagnostic criteria. (Source: National Autistic Society)

Many parents of children with pathological demand avoidance (PDA – a sub-type of autism) feel they've been wrongly accused of poor parenting; in fact, people with PDA will avoid demands made by others due to high anxiety levels when they feel they are not in control. (Source: National Autistic Society)

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August 2013

Last updated: over 1 year ago