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Intelligence Squared Debate: Our Children Are Over Diagnosed

Listen to Intelligence Squared Debate: Our Children Are Over Diagnosed

These days, classrooms seem packed with children who report to the office to take medication at lunchtimes – or whose behaviour problems come with labels that didn’t exist when their parents were young. Kids who can’t sit still have ADHD, kids with trouble making friends have Asperger’s Syndrome, and even cleverness comes with a measurable label: Gifted.

When did eccentricity, naughtiness and other behaviours become medicalised, rather than part of the normal variation of human behaviour? Do all these categories help more than they hinder? And why are asthma, autism and allergies all on the rise?

Divisions are everywhere – on whether the rise in childhood ailments is due to better detection, environmental contaminants or a blend of both; and on whether medication is an answer, and if so, how soon (and how much).

Our speakers take the pulse of the situation – and offer competing diagnoses to get to the heart of the problem. Wheeler Centre director Michael Williams chairs the debate.

Speakers for the proposition are:

Jane Caro - Author, broadcaster and award-winning advertising writer

Martin Whitely - Recently retired WA politician, teacher and author of Speed Up and Sit Still: The Controversies of ADHD

Jon Jureidini - Child psychiatrist, professor in psychiatry and paediatrics at Adelaide University and spokesman for Healthy Skepticism

Speakers against the proposition include:

Nicole Rogerson - CEO of Autism Awareness Australia and director of the Lizard Children’s Centre

Katie Allen - Paediatric Gastroenterologist and Allergist in the field of Food Allergy at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital and co-author of Kids' Food Allergy for Dummies

Jane Burns - Public health academic and advocate, and CEO of Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre

…plus your questions from the floor.

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