Medicating child behavior

Dear Editor,

I’m a pediatric occupational therapist and would like to comment on your Sept 14, ’08 article The Bipolar Kid.

Medicating kids and pets with behavior problems appears to be a new age style of parenting. The ‘quick fix’ of a drug is so alluring to our busy ‘techno’ obsessed society, that nannies, daycare, TV and videogames have become parents to our children The subsequent lack of parent connection is causing today’s child to literally go ‘mad’. Numerous times during The Bipolar Kid article, Ms. Egan referenced young James, Phia and Lucas (three children with diagnosed bipolar disorder) using TV or videogames. It is imperative to address missing critical factors for early child development, to shed some light on the haste to medicalize and drug child behavior. Infants, toddlers and children need adequate stimulation to the movement, touch and connection systems to achieve optimal physical and mental health. Movement stimulates vestibular and proprioception sensation, resulting in postural tone, coordination and maintenance of arousal states. Touch stimulates tactile sensation, integral for the formation of ‘praxis’ or ability to plan movement, and helps a child to feel secure and calm. Connection or attachment is a biological need without which infants will die. Lack of connection results in an insecure, agitated and anxious child, and eventually leads to aggression and rage. TV and videogame use in elementary aged children is now 6.5 hours per day, with 65% having TV’s in their bedrooms. Parents spend a mere 3.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children. Rough and tumble outdoor play and family time are essential ingredients for raising a healthy child. Sedentary and isolated, today’s child is demonstrating behaviors that are quickly being diagnosed and medicated. What will happen to these children as they age is only a guess, but likely their brain structure and chemistry will be so altered, they will be destined for either incarceration or residency in a mental hospital. Americans may want to consider the Canadian Unplug – Don’t Drug policy where families undergo a three month ‘unplug’ trial prior to medicating a child. Children are our future. There is no future in virtual reality.

References provided upon request, or can view Fact Sheet on media kit at www.zonein.ca.


Cris Rowan, BScOT, BScBi, SIPT, Approved Provider by AOTA
CEO Zone’in Programs Inc.
6840 Seaview Rd.
Sechelt, BC V0N3A4
604-885-0986 office, 604-885-0389 fax, 604-740-2264 cell