Re: DSM: The Sudbury model -- appropriate for all children, yesor no?

From: Ardeshir Mehta, N.D. (
Date: Thu May 31 2001 - 13:25:12 EDT

Hi there everyone:

Warren McMillan wrote:

> Alan writes;
> >What more are you
> > asking for?
> I think Adeshir and I, correct me if I am wrong, are discussing the few on
> the edge in order to see where the Sudbury policy goes if you push it to its
> extreme. Just testing the limits. At least that is my take on it.
> Warren

Thank you, Warren, for echoing my sentiments exactly.

What I am exploring is, what the Sudbury model offers --
or does not offer -- that minuscule portion of kids who
are at risk, often through no fault of their own.

Such kids are only a statistic to the parents of those other
kids who are not affected by any such problem. But when
it is your own kid, it becomes much more than a mere

I speak from personal experience. When my older son
Cyrus was 4 years old, he used to throw temper tantrums
that could last up to eight hours! We were lucky that a
very good psychiatrist here diagnosed him early as having
a variety of Tourette's Syndrome, one that resulted in
symptoms of uncontrollable rage and agression. Cyrus
was put on medication, and that reduced his temper tan-
trums down to about half an hour each, but in each case,
it was still a terrible half-hour.

And it occurred almost daily. He just could not control
himself during those periods.

The local school could do nothing for him. They said
they just could not keep him at school. He was totally
disruptive. (This when he was 6 years old, and on
medication for about two years).

Fortunately the School Board had (at that time) in its
system another school about 10 km away where they
had what they called a "Special Support Unit", where
Cyrus -- along with other troubled kids -- could be
given individual attention by an adult whenever he
needed it. The SSU, as it was called for short, was
run by a *very* gifted teacher, Garvin King from Trini-
dad, who was very strict without being at all offensive.
Cyrus loved him, and he worked such a miracle that
by the time Cyrus was 8 or 9 years of age, his temper
tantrums had completely -- and I mean *completely*
-- gone (at least during school hours: at home he
would, on occasion, throw a temper tantrum anyway.)

At present Cyrus, now age 14, is a model student, does
not throw temper tantrums anywhere -- neither at school
nor at home -- and loves going to school. (He is of course
still on medication, and will probably be on medication
all his life, unless medical science comes up with another
solution to his disability). But had the School Board not
intially put him in what was unashamedly called, and
indeed was, a therapeutic environment, I shudder to
think what might have been the case today. He would
have definitely been expelled from every school he was
sent to, including a Sudbury model school, for being
just too disruptive.

This, I think, is a grave lacuna in the Sudbury model,
and should not be overlooked.

I also would like to throw in my two bits about adults
who "just won't take responsibility". How many of these
were undiagnosed troubled kids with some sort of psychi-
atric disability, who, had they been properly diagnosed
and treated when still little, might never have ended up
as adults who "just won't take responsibility"? Thank
God Cyrus is now not at risk of such a terrible fate!

As I said, when it's your own kid, it's not just a statistic.

Ardeshir <>



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