Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

James L. Cherney


The specific objective of this project is to elaborate general rhetorical resources and strategies that can allow for ADHDers to both cultivate/reclaim a positive sense of self in the face of multiple forms of stigmatizing discourse and begin the process of challenging that discourse. Working from a disability studies perspective, I identify both challenges and opportunities to develop a positive sense of self through the examination of nostalgia in ADHD discourse, polysemic ADHD medical discourse, and the use of counternarratives as a resource to reframe stigmatizing master narratives. This project concludes by emphasizing that those with what I identify as contested disabilities – those like ADHD that some argue as to whether they should be considered “legitimate” disabilities – can utilize a similar process of analyzing master narratives to determine strengths and weaknesses to strategically construct counternarratives. While each contested disability will have to address unique discursive/narrative challenges, this project provides an example of how that process can occur through the examination of ADHD.

Included in

Rhetoric Commons