Suffer the Children

The case against labeling and medicating children, and effective alternatives for treating them

Sluggish Writer's Disorder

A typo or a publication date slip?

I am a great admirer of reporter Alan Schwarz and The New York Times, the newspaper he writes for. I especially laud Schwarz's humorous article of April 11, 2014, although it seems to have slipped its publication date by 10 days. Nonetheless, in this era of epidemic disorders that afflict so many of our children, Schwarz graciously reminds us that we must preserve our sense of humor to soldier on. 

So many American children today are lost in la la land. This may be a result of sitting in classrooms in which kids are so bored that they resort to daydreaming or of having parents who seem imaginary because the kids see them so rarely. Fortunately, researchers like Russell Barkley and drug companies like Eli Lilly have done these children an invaluable service.

These kids no longer need to feel like they are alone and forever lost in la la land. They can now identify with 2 million other lost children as part of a newly formed subculture called "kids with sluggish cognitive tempo disorder ( S.C.T.)"  This group even has a magic potion they can call their own. This potion is not Baruffio's Brain Elixir (of Harry Potter fame) which boosts a child's brain power, but rather Eli Lilly's wonder drug Strattera which purports to have the same effect. Lilly's elixir will return kids lost in Hogwarts world of witchcraft and wizardry to a normal Muggle lifestyle, thus allowing the adults around them to breathe a long sigh of relief.

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Whether the newly invented syndrome of S.C.T. is actually real or whether it dwells in the land of imagination is still a matter of debate. Dr. Steve Lee, Associate Professor of Psychology at UCLA, is quoted: “The scientist part of me says we need to pursue knowledge, but we know that people will start saying their kids have it, and doctors will start diagnosing it and prescribing for it long before we know whether it’s real.”

Readers who are especially interested in finding out more about the newly originative "sluggish cognitive temper disorder" can find 136 pages of material about it in the January edition of The Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.

Unfortunately, the apparant publication error of Schwarz's article, April 11 instead of April 1, may mislead readers to take it seriously, as did one of my friends. When I forwarded the article to her, she wrote back to me: "This is so upsetting, it's hard to read. I can see the hidden hand of Pharma." If readers want to email the article to their friends, please preface it with a note explaining that it should have been published on April 1.

Below is Alan Schwarz's kind response to this article, which he rightly identifies as tongue-in-cheek.

Marilyn--

Thank you for the kind words regarding my work at the Times. Perhaps this is unnecessary, however I would like to clear up any possible confusion -- my article in Saturday's paper regarding Sluggish Cognitive Tempo was *not* in any way affiliated with April Fools. Yes, I suppose the publication date was similar (April 11) however this was a straight news article. Perhaps your tongue was very firmly in cheek when writing your post, and I'm all for good humor if it was. But just to clarify for anyone who did not understand (including someone who forwarded me your post and started to wonder himself!), mine was a serious article about some even more serious people. Just so you and your readers know.

Best,
--Alan Schwarz.

Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D., is a family therapist and the author of Suffer the Children: The Case Against Labeling and Medicating and an Effective Alternative.

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