Parents report how easy it was to go down the route of medicating their child when behaviour challenged everyone around them and professionals thought it would help.
There was nothing else on offer, they say. In recent times alarm bells have been ringing about the number of children on mind-altering drugs.
Anti psychotics are often prescribed to people with behavioural problems with no history of severe mental illness. The drugs given to these children include stimulants to reduce hyperactivity, mood stabilizers for anxiety and depression, and anti psychotics to reduce aggression not minding the worrying side effects of these drugs.
It seems as if this behavioural medication’, or ‘chemical restraint’ as it has also come to be known, as the cheapest route possible when compared to other modalities of therapy, such as
- Applied behaviour analysis,
- Speech therapy,
- Occupational therapy,
- nutritional support and personalised curriculum.
I’ve seen at first hand how these therapies, combined with better pastoral care in schools, or even a change of education provision, has been effective in supporting children with autism and other related developmental challenges –reducing the most challenging of behaviours.
Every child with autism is different, and will or won’t respond to various approaches, but for their sakes we have to demand safer treatments.
Discernible progress has also been seen in children when their diet has been adjusted.
It is sure stressful and expensive, but it is worth it.