Controversial guidelines suggest medicating children under six for ADHD

Image: timnewman, iStock

New treatment recommendations for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is causing an uproar.

The 2012 Current Clinical Practice advises against using medication as a first resort for very young children.

The guidelines read:

Psychological, environmental and family interventions should, if possible, be trialled and evaluated before starting any medication treatment. If all of these other interventions have not been effective then stimulants might be considered.

Currently, the Therepeutic Goods Administration (TGA) does not recommend ADHD medication for children under six.

However, this could change. There is a push for medication to be the first port of call rather than last resort.

Financial interests

The Australian ADHD Professionals Association (AADPA) admitted on their website that members have financial interests in ADHD medications.

However, Professor and AADPA President, Mark Bellgrove insisted:

…we’re entirely confident that we have taken the necessary steps to minimise any impact of conflicts.

Professor Bellgrove claimed that all researchers were:

…exonerated and cleared of any misconduct regarding their declarations about links to pharma.

Professor Bellgrove may be right. All members of the AADPA may have followed all their laws and guidelines. But the question of whether children under six should be given ADHD medication still remains.

The heartbreaking effects of ADHD

ADHD can be a devastating condition for the sufferer and people closest to them. According to WebMD, untreated ADHD can have a wide range of effects in both children and adults. These can include:

  • Impulsivity can make school and work harder
  • Children may not be able to retain information and fall behind in class
  • Difficulty relating to others; may have issues with sharing, taking turns and reacting appropriately in certain situations
  • Difficulty making friends (and dating in adolescence)
  • May suffer low self – esteem
  • impulsivity may result in frequent injuries
  • Conflicts with parents
  • Risky behaviours such as: alcohol and drug abuse, smoking and risky sexual activity
  • Eating disorders (especially in girls)
  • Depression
  • Being involved in car accidents
  • Work issues such as: being on time and trouble completing tasks

ADHD is no joke. It’s clear that it needs to be taken seriously.

My take: ADHD should be treated. But get financial interests out of it

Let me say from the outset: ADHD is real. I don’t doubt that it is debilitating for many sufferers. However, the push from AADPA reinforces ideas that many critics of ADHD already have.

Psychiatry has been bastardised by the pharmaceutical industry. Real illnesses, like ADHD and depression are often given Band – Aid solutions, rather than lasting change.

It’s easy to see why.

In 2019- 2020, the Australian Government subsidised A$566million for mental health prescriptions. Under Medicare, Australians still pay a small amount for medication (approximately A$8 to A$60). So pharmaceutical companies are making bank.

I have not been able to find the amount the Australian Government or consumers spend on medications like Ritalin alone. That’s suss.

I’m not saying medication is never the answer for mental illnesses. But the pharmaceutical industry need to forget their financial interests and focus on helping people who are genuinely suffering. And offer real, long lasting solutions.

Do you think children under the age of six should be prescribed ADHD medications? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.


It’s only hours before ‘Neighbours’ ends for good

We are only hours away from the end of the longest running soap opera in Australia’s history.

I watched Neighbours when I was a kid, then quite consistently from 2011 onwards. I missed Scott (Jason Donovan) and Charlene’s (Kylie Minogue) wedding I wasn’t even born). But I saw Toadie (Ryan Moloney) marry Dee (Madeline West). Also his marriage to Sonya (Eve Morey).

And, yes, I did see the marriage between David (Takaya Honda) and Aaron (Matt Wilson).

I saw Madge Bishop (Anne Charleston) die. And Sonya. And Hendrix (Ben Turland).

Storms, family feuds, crime. Drama, drama and more drama. And while some of the plotlines were a bit over the top or silly I couldn’t help but watch the majority of episodes for the past eleven years.

I doubt I’m the only one that has watched it consistently for so long. And I’m sure other Australians have watched it consistently for a lot longer.

Why has Neighbours survived for so long?

The numerous plotlines kept it going. Always something going on in Ramsay Street.

And the characters are largely likable. Who wouldn’t want a friend like Toadie? Or Harold? Or neighbour# like Karl and Susan?

Even the characters people loved to hate were great. Sheila (Colette Mann) or Nicolette (Charlotte Chimes) were endearing (at least in the end).

And the villains? Karma bit them hard. That’s what made it even more gripping!

Some pitfalls

Like everything else in life,vNeighbours hasn’t always been perfect.

Sometimes the plot and dialogue hasn’t been great. For example:

  • Roxy worrying that Harlow was a psychopath (when she had shown no signs before)
  • Leo threatening to sue Therese after the storm at Kyle and Roxy’s wedding, but nothing came of it

Neighbours and the LGBTQ+ community

Neighbours has been overall great in LGBTQ+ representation. Unlike other soapies, Neighbours didn’t kill off LGBTQ+ characters after one or two episodes. And unlike Home and Away (years ago), they didn’t have characters (women) kiss someone of the same – sex once, question their sexuality for a week, then go back to being straight.

Neighbours has kept it’s LGBTQ+ characters in the plotlines. They’ve come out, fought for acceptance and fought bigotry.

There is one pitfall. Why can’t gay or bi women find lasting love? Their relationships are so chaotic. And they don’t last. No women couples married on Neighbours. Why?

Also, is it just me, or does it bother you that the sex lives of gay/ bi was openly talked about on the show, but no one else? That’s just been my thoughts over the past few weeks.

Whether you love or loathe Neighbours, a piece of Australian pop culture history is going to end tonight.

What’s your fondest memory on Neighbours?


Well, that’s it folks! Great ending. Maybe I was a bit harsh in my criticisms before.


Children encouraged to play card games to gain social skills

Uno has become popular among primary school – aged children

It’s no secret that peoole have worried about children’s wellbeing over the past two years. The pandemic and lockdowns have seen thousands of children completing schoolwork at home. Controversially, this has included children in early primary school.

To build up wellbeing and social skills, some primary school teachers are using strategies outside of traditional subjects like reading, writing and arithmetic. The card game, Uno has proven a hit by the children.

‘Brain breaks’ — in addition to recess and lunch — are also being implemented.

Teachers are using these techniques to address effects of lockdown on children’s development.

New South Wales’ Primary Principals Association’s vice president, Michael Trist has highlighted effects on children’s development.

We know children have missed out on some of those basic building blocks for their social skills and the resulting mental health benefits those social skills bring.

Trist is optimistic that lost and under-developed social skills can come back and improve:

Just like a student who arrives at school with limited literacy can make up ground, so can a child who arrives with social deficiencies.

These techniques are being used not only to increase social interaction, but to also build prosocial behaviours. In locations that had the harsher lockdowns, challenging behaviours and emotions have increased.

Play – based learning is essential to early development

Image: Pexels

In the early 2010s, Australia’s Labor Government introduced reforms to early childhood education.

As a result, the Early Years Learning Framework was established.

In early childhood education (daycare – Preschool), play-based learning is seen as an essential part of childhood development.

According to the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF):

Play provides opportunities for children to learn as they discover, create, improvise and imagine. When children play with other children, they create social groups, test out ideas, challenge each other’s thinking and build new understandings.

Belonging, Being and Becoming: Early Years Learning Framework, p. 5

Play is recognised as, not just important for identity, but also prosocial skills in children.

So, it makes sense that it would help primary school – aged children who may have regressed in some of these skills over the past two years.

Mental health, especially among children and young people, has been such a hot topic over the past two years. Having children in organised play can only help increase children’s mental wellbeing.

It’s not just about reading, writing and arithmetic

In mainstream media, there has been concerns raised over writing, reading and mathematics standards. Concerns have only heightened since the pandemic.

While skills in reading, writing and arithmetic are important, I think it’s good that social skills, play-based learning and rest are also being highlighted.

It’s good for children’s mental health. And that’s important for learning.

Children may need to be eased back into school life again. I think relearning social skills using games is a great first step.

What do you think? Should all primary/ elementary schools develop play – based programs and extra breaks? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


Early childhood educators call police on parent over LGBTQ+ curriculum complaint

Pencil and blocks on desk in childcare centre
Image: iStock

An early childhood centre has clashed with a parent over teaching LGBTQ+ topics.

According to Daily Telegraph, an anonymous parent claimed a staff member at Roseville Kids Care, Sydney, contacted police after the parent complained about ‘gender ideology’ being taught at the centre.

The issue the parent allegedly had was children as young as five learning ‘radical gender theory’. Children were learning about terms such as: non – binary, pansexual, lesbian and asexual. Children also coloured in Pride flags.

The parent said:

I visited it and was shocked that there was a giant out-size ‘pride’ flag. It was the biggest flag in the room, far bigger than the Australian flag. When I went in there was an entire wall describing different sexualities giving definitions of things like ‘pansexual’ and ‘lesbian’.

A number of photos taken by other parents show pride flags that were coloured by the children.

Should educators teach children about LGBTQ+ topics?

The actions from Roseville Kids Care has received support and criticism

Sydney psychologist, Clare Rowe said that LGBTQ+ concepts were too adult for young children to grasp.

…they simply do not have the mental faculties to process layered, complex information.

Rowe put the onus of teaching about gender and sexuality on the parents.

Director of Foundations of Western Civilisation Program for Institute of Public Affairs, Dr. Bella d’Abrera has condemned the centre.

Parents should be extremely concerned that they are entrusting their very young children to an after care centre which is indoctrinating them with radical gender theory.

However, Roseville Kids Care does have some supporters. CEO of the Network of Community Activities, Pauline Kane argued:

It’s about raising children with inclusive attitudes.

Kane claimed primary – aged children often raised questions about topics such as transgenderism. Those questions should be answered.

Is five too young to learn about LGBTQ+ topics?

I can see both sides. Yes, young children need to be protected from adult concepts they can’t grasp. Ideally, parents and caregivers should be able to approach topics like gender and sexuality in a way that’s age appropriate.

I don’t agree with young children getting involved in Pride culture. I didn’t like what some children have allegedly been exposed to in Pride parades this year.

While I don’t totally disagree with it, I don’t see why young children have to know what the Pride flags are. I’m happy with five- year – olds to know that; sometimes two women love each other like mummy and daddy do. Same with men, etc.

Likewise, when a child is being raised by same – sex or gender non – conforming parents, then bring it up. Children should be able to know that families are different.

Children should be able to explore their identity, including gender. Before anyone hits the roof, many children have a concept of their gender from a very young age.

So I’m in the middle. Little children don’t need to be exposed to Pride culture. However, it’s not a bad thing to teach children that it’s OK to express their gender the way they see fit. And some men love men and some women love women. Pride? That can wait until they’re older.

What do you think? Should young children learn about Pride and LGBTQ identities? Let me know your thoughts below.

Petition calling for Clarence Thomas to resign from Supreme Court surpasses 1 million signatures

Herald Sun did short video detailing tge call for Clarence Thomas to be impeached.

Anger over the overturning of Roe vs Wade is still hot. Now, there are calls for Justice Clarence Thomas to be impeached.

A petition on MoveOn has surpassed 1 million signatures.

The petition accuses Thomas and other Supreme Court justices of:

…effectively taking away the right to privacy and bodily autonomy that’s been considered legal precedent for the past 50 years.

The petition repeats the fears that Thomas is pushing to overturn rights to contraception and LGBTQ+ rights, including same – sex marriage.

Thomas is also condemned for voting against compell8ng the release of Donald Trump’s records regarding the January 6 riots.

His wife, Virginia Thomas is accused of:

…actively urging the White House to overturn the election results both leading up to January 6 and after the deadly insurrection.

The ultimate argument for Thomas’ impeachment is:

He has shown he cannot be an impartial justice and is more concerned with covering up his wife’s coup attempts than the health of the Supreme Court.

Why did people sign the petition

As I finish writing this post, 1,167,503 people have signed the petition. Reasons for people signing the petition include:

This justice is hardly about justice and has a political agenda. That is not the job. Keep the Supreme Court politically impartial and protect American freedoms!!

Gerson P

Because their religion is not my healthcare and has place [sic] in the medical field.

Jaysa L

The supreme court [sic] has lost touch with their established purpose. Just because they are ‘supreme’, does not mean they have supreme power.

Jac B

For every woman

Sara G

Are attacks on Thomas partly motivated by race?

Not surprisingly, conservatives have condemned attacks on Thomas as racist. ‘Black liberal’ on Medium also think race has played a part.

Last week, Medium writer known as ‘My Lovely Suque’ wrote an article titled Dear White Women, Clarence Thomas Didn’t Kill Roe. You Did‘.

In the post, the author blamed white women for allowing Republicans to run the Senate. Ultimately, this led to a conservative majority in SCOTUS.

The author stated:

…Roe was reversed because of white women. Because they consistently vite against pro – choice policies.

My Lovely Suque

Justice Thomas couldn’t shoulder the blame for overturning on Roe v Wade. My Lovely Suque acknowledged this:

It was not reversed because of one Black man. It was reversed because millions of white women voting against women’s reproductive rights generation after generation.

Will the call to impeach Thomas work?

While I haven’t looked too much into the claims against Justice Thomas, I have my doubts.

It feels like Brett Kavanaugh all over again. Meaning, accusations are made on weak evidence and will get dismissed. I could be wrong, but that’s how I feel for now.

Let me make one thing super clear. I am not a fan of Justice Clarence Thomas. He makes me nervous for LGBTQ+ Americans and those seeking to access contraception and other rights. Americans are potentially in for an uphill battle.

However, I also think Justice Thomas is just the object for people’s rage. He’s an easy target.