[LMB] We've been discussing gene engineering on people...

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Sun Oct 13 08:23:58 BST 2019

From: Joel Polowin <jpolowin at hotmail.com>

Matthew George (matt.msg at gmail.com) wrote:
> A condition with no known etiology that is diagnosed only through symptoms
> perceived by others, and in the presence of strong external preferences as
> to acceptable behavior?  *Sure* it's a real condition.
> There is no actual standard by which diagnoses can be evaluated by.  It's
> possible that such standards may be discovered.  It's possible that
> diagnoses will be withheld until such standards exist.

I've seen a child go from being literally unable to sit still for more
than about a minute -- unable to focus on any task, unable to learn to
read -- to an avid reader and (for his age) talented artist, thanks to
his getting appropriate medications.  When his parents took him to be
evaluated by the specialist, said specialist was skeptical in advance
that the appointment would be useful, because the kid was so young,
and young kids are naturally very active.  The specialist only had to
watch him for a few seconds to diagnose the ADHD.  She said that he
was the worst case she'd ever seen.  His parents had been referring
to him as "Brownian Boy", semi-figuratively bouncing off the walls.
YES, it's a real condition.

Gwynne: You're so very right. It's not a fake, or a joke, or an excuse.

It's definitely a real condition. Yes, I've seen plenty of parents
use it as an excuse. But I've also seen so many of the real thing, and those
kids are suffering. The 'oh it's just made up and the kid's just naughty'
attitude makes life even harder for them, because the genuine ones quite
literally CANNOT keep the lid on their physical responses, and the energy
it takes to even try to do that is exhausting. It makes it impossible for
them to concentrate and achieve to their potential. Oh, and it can be
diagnosed medically now, the latest research has found specific activity patterns
in the brain associated with the condition. The research is still new, and
ongoing, but they're hoping that once they can identify and isolate all the
relevant patterns, they can find new therapies to redirect or retrain the
neural responses. Early days, as I say, but hopeful.

Of course it's nice to be comfortably superior and wave it all away, but when
you work with the poor kids you see that they really are victims of a difficult
condition. They lose friends, they are identified as the 'naughty' kids, they're
locked into a pattern of behaviours they develop to try and cope, and in the
long run those behaviours often make things even harder for them. They find
it so hard and frustrating to try to do their schoolwork, and humiliating when
they can't keep up with their cohort. It becomes a vicious cycle where the coping
mechanisms grow into problems themselves. And most people see a young
teen or preteen and just think they're troublemakers. They don't realise that
the poor kids have spent at least three-quarters of their lives trying to find ways
to protect their self-image, to give themselves some way to survive in the world.

Yes, it's real. Yes, there are children trying so heartbreakingly hard to cope with
this condition. Yes it can severely limit their options, especially if they're constantly
:told that they're naughty and stupid, and they just have to try harder.

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