Giving a Voice to the Silence offers positive angles to the issue that faces those with mental illness. Living with Schizo-Affective Disorder and being able to share my experiences with others, is the best way I know how to pay it forward. Life can be difficult, my goal is to bring a bit of hope to a place where many feel there is none.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Taking Away Childhood in Search of Mental Illness

A sleeping infantImage via WikipediaSince it is not possible to detect mental illness before birth, some are taking the next step and having their babies evaluated for mental illnesses at younger and younger ages.

There is a list of mile stones that "should be reached" according to age, if they are not hit on the mark - then there must be a problem. Are we reacting too quickly?

Infant mental health has become more popular in recent years as statics say that the prevalence of ADD and Autism has jumped to 1 in 150 children in recent years. Are these numbers accurate, or are they merely a way to explain away discipline problems or a child not "performing" to where the professionals think they should be.

Now, I am not completely disregarding the need for early intervention - there are many cases when it is necessary and vital to a child’s future development. But do we need to go "looking" for reasons to treat them, or a way to make them "perfect" in our eyes. Heaven forbid our children should have a problem in their life, what will people think of us as parents? If we are trying to make kids perfect what will happen when they are older and come realize that life is not perfect?
My 2nd daughter did not begin talking 'normally,' until she was nearly 3 years old. She did smile, walk and laugh - but did not talk as "most 2 year olds did." Today, she is 17 and perfectly normal. She just didn’t feel the need to talk. Having an older sister she just followed her around and did what she did. No mental disorder just a toddler with more important things to do with her time. I wonder if she was 3 years old now what would have happened to her. I am glad she was born when she was - at least we saved her childhood for her.

I am not sure I will truly understand the reasons fro adding labels to infants to young to understand what they people are saying they have. How can they know?

When did we start living by labels?