Middle-class, deprived babies

9th September 2005 at 01:00
I was heartened to read Sue Palmer's exploration of the importance of parent-infant interaction ("Look at them before they leap", TES, August 19).

For several years I have been alarmed by the sight of startled-looking babies strapped into buggies and shoved around filthy streets, at knee height in an exhaust-fumed, faceless world: or carried by sporty, seemingly capable mums in outward-pointing slings (little arms and legs flailing, little faces wide-eyed and rigid with alarm).

The fact is that our fragile infants are being abused every day everywhere by well-meaning modern parents. They are thrust into trendy restaurants and noisy shops. They are dumped under hanging mobiles at home (with their bottles balanced strategically against their chests so they can feed themselves). They are plonked in front of the telly so household chores can be done in peace. In her article, Ms Palmer hinted at the effect of this neglect, not only on individuals, but society as a whole.

In my work as a neurofeedback practitioner I have seen the damage caused by abuse and neglect. Modern brain-imaging techniques reveal to us areas of the brain that have been effectively "switched off" due to inadequate, or inappropriate sensory stimulation.

The children who arrive at my clinic are, by and large, with well-meaning, middle-class parents. I believe many have a genetic makeup that predisposes them to difficulties with, say, socialising or maintaining attention. But, I am also convinced that societal forces conspire to rob them of the experience of being fully nurtured. And it's time for a change.

Melissa Foks Learning with Neurofeedback 44 Burntwood Grange Road London SW18

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