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Title: 'Blurting out' to 'blending in' : an inquiry into the presence and positioning of the child's voice within ADHD assessments from an actor-network perspective
Author: Blood, Amanda L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 3267
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2015
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Twenty five years ago, the 'voice' of the child emerged within a key piece of legislation (UNREC, 1999) alongside moves to re-position the child as social actor by the 'new' Sociology of Childhood. Adopting a methodological framework, Actor-Network Theory, that allows for the inclusion of non-human actants and can also capture the process of becoming an ADHD child, this thesis looks at how far the child's voice has been translated into the practice of the professionals who are mobilised in relation to the diagnosis of Childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a condition which is claimed to be one of the most common mental disorders among children in Great Britain (Green et al, 2004). Drawing on the analysis of qualitative interviews with twenty-two professionals working with childhood ADHD in one geographical area, as well as thirteen documents, I argue that the inclusion of ‘the child’s voice’ is not routine in professional practice in the case of ADHD diagnosis processes because what the child says and how they say it is highly entwined with that process of diagnosis and response. As the child becomes identified as problematic, the child's utterances are treated as vocalisations rather than voice. This is further compounded by the referral route to, and assessment by, CAMHS or Paediatrics, the child enters one of two different assemblages with different possibilities for status, actorship and voice. The diagnosis and interventions added further layers to the presence and positioning of the child's voice. I argue that if, and how, the child's voice emerges in an assemblage depends upon a number of factors, including the positioning of the child, professional values, organisational practices, and the artefacts present. Artefacts, such as questionnaires or medication, extend opportunities for voice for some children, while muting others. Therefore, the findings also highlight a number of complexities of voice, particularly when the decisions are not of the child's making. The child's voice emerges as a controversial topic, part of the performance of the network appears to be to translate the vocalisations of the child into more adult controlled and legitimated speech or silences. I conclude that controversies and complexities need to be more openly discussed to create the conditions under which it is possible for the child's voice to be translated from policy into professional practice.
Supervisor: Moran-Ellis, J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available