Reconciling the seemingly irreconcilable: The WHO's ICF system integrates biological and psychosocial environmental determinants of autism and ADHD: The International Classification of Functioning (ICF) allows to model opposed biomedical and neurodiverse views of autism and ADHD within one framework

Sven Bölte, Wenn B. Lawson, Peter B. Marschik, Sonya Girdler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), such as autism and ADHD, are behaviorally defined adaptive functioning difficulties arising from variations, alterations and atypical maturation of the brain. While it is widely agreed that NDDs are complex conditions with their presentation and functional impact underpinned by diverse genetic and environmental factors, contemporary and polarizing debate has focused on the appropriateness of the biomedical as opposed to the neurodiverse paradigm in framing conceptions of these conditions. Despite being largely overlooked by both research and practice, the International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) endorsed by the World Health Organization in 2001 views functioning dynamically, offering a framework for investigating, assessing and treating NDDs holistically. Exemplified by autism and ADHD, we argue that the ICF provides not only a multitude of opportunities in accounting for the environmental determinants in researching and clinically managing NDDs, but opportunities for harmonizing the seemingly irreconcilable biomedical and neurodiverse paradigms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBioEssays
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Apr 2021

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