Alternatives to popping pills

27th August 2004 at 01:00
I agree with much of what Mark Edwards' has to say about the diagnosis of disorders in children ("Too many tablets to swallow", TES, August 13) but I don't believe it's the case that children are being over diagnosed.

I also don't believe that "labelling" is a bad thing. When a problem has been identified then resources can be allocated and action can be taken.

What is crucially important is that the right action is taken.

Biologically speaking we are pretty much the same creatures as we were several thousand years ago. However, our cultural and physical environment is changing at such an alarming rate that we simply don't have the adaptive capacity to keep up.

The pegs (us) remain largely square while the holes (our environment) become increasingly round.

It therefore seems to me that the solution is two-fold. We need to slow down the rate at which we are changing the shape of the holes and, simultaneously, we need to help the "squarer" pegs become round enough to fit into their communities.

In the case of children with attention-deficithyperactivity disorder, medication is one way of making the pegs rounder. However, I'm against medication except as a short-term emergency measure.

What we should be doing is examining alternative approaches much more seriously. And we should do it with a sense of urgency.

Melissa Foks

Learning With Neurofeedback

44 Burntwood Grange Road

London SW18

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