Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Child disorders - fact or fiction?

My son has just started primary school. One third of his class has been diagnosed as 'special needs'. The teachers are under special instructions that they must teach these kids differently, that they must tailor the school day individually to each child. In addition, they have been told that these children will not respond 'positively' to being disciplined.

This is all well and good, but it leaves some pretty serious questions;

i) How does a poorly paid primary school teacher find the time to design 25 individual 'learning plans'?
ii) What time is left over for the 'normal' kids?
iii) If you are no longer able to discipline a special needs child, how do you maintain order with the rest?
iv) If a child's poor behaviour is 'not their fault' but a result of a mental condition, where does that leave free will? Should their resultant criminal behaviour also be excused?
v) If special needs children are no longer encouraged to 'fit in' and to conform with society, then what chance will they have when they leave school and come to look for a job?
vi) Is pumping six year old children full of anti-depressants and amphetamines (ritalin) really the answer?

Below are the 'illnesses' that i have come across and in brackets are what my old teachers might have called us.

Anxiety Disorder (nervous)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (nuts)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (very anxious)
Clinical depression (sad)
Bipolar disorder (emotional)
Aspergers (naughty)
ADHD (very naughty)
Learning disorder (thick)
Conduct disorder (rude and naughty)
Anorexia or bulimia nervosa (thin)
Binge eating disorder (a bit like bulimia without the thowing up) - fat
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (a little shit)
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (sleepy)
Indigo child (badly brought up)

Some children clearly do suffer from mental conditions and need extensive help but i suspect that the proliferation of special needs children is more related to the spread of special needs parenting.

Possibly why the UK government is considering introducing parenting classes.