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'Experts' too quick to judge behaviour of young children

Dear editor: I just wanted to commend Lindsey Seewalt on her “Boys Will be Boys” article. I would be grateful if you could pass this message on to her. As a mom with a six-year-old boy developing on his own timeline, this really resonated with me.

Dear editor:

I just wanted to commend Lindsey Seewalt on her “Boys Will be Boys” article. I would be grateful if you could pass this message on to her.

As a mom with a six-year-old boy developing on his own timeline, this really resonated with me. The fact is, despite our insistence to the contrary, we have had many people tell us our boy should be diagnosed with ASD or (sometimes) ADHD. These people don’t know my son, they just meet him for five or 10 minutes and jump to that conclusion because he doesn’t act the same as his younger sister.

One of my favourite examples was when an occupational therapist came into our house (because I went against my better judgment and started the process of an Autism Query), gave him three dolls and a tractor, one at a time, and later said he didn’t “interact enough” with the dolls, and that this was a concern.

I tried to explain that he clearly found the dolls boring (as his mom I am familiar with his body language. I know that comes as a surprise to many), but that didn’t matter. He was more interested in a tractor than in dolls, so that was a cause for alarm, and I was just a mom, I couldn‘t possibly know.

Look, I know that there are experts out there who help many people who genuinely have ASD or ADHD.

Things HAVE gotten out of hand, though, and my experience (while admittedly probably one of the bad examples out there. I’m sure many people have good experiences to report, and for that I am grateful) was that there are not enough people listening to the parents – the only experts for their own children – and way too many people passing hasty judgment.

Thank-you for your article, Ms. Seewalt, and thank-you for publishing it, Cochrane Eagle!

It’s nice to feel validated for once.

Jenna MacWhirter




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