Title: Graffiti or writing on the wall
Tags: riots ADHD behaviour David Cameron
Blog Entry:  Was the writing on the wall or was it just graffiti? Getting ready for ‘Back to School’ signs in shops have made a poignant backdrop to the  broken windows and looters this summer. Amidst  the  analysis and clean up in our cities, one thing is certain. The mood of a whole generation has shifted and can never be the same again. We may well ask ourselves what schools can do, to prepare themselves for September return of their students?   What has become only too apparent is the amount of arrests involving young people: ·         Arrests ( at the time of writing) totalled 1,927 ·         Half of those arrests were young people born in the 1990s ·         26% were below 18 and 12% were below 16. ·         38% were unemployed. 1 in 5 young people aged between 16- 24 in the UK is now unemployed.     Perhaps it’s time for a short history lesson to see whether there was  writing on the wall  5 years ago that we failed to listen to.   Was  the inevitable outcome  of this failure, played out on our streets this summer?   Do  those  leaders and politicians only perceive that writing on the wall  as  graffiti?   In 2006 David Cameron made a statement to the Tory Think Tank on social injustice:   “When you see a child walking down the street with a hoodie up, head down, moody swaggering, dominating the pavement – think about what  has bought that child to that moment.” Let’s turn back some more pages in our history book:  “More than a million children have mental health problems, a doubling of the number in a generation, devastating research reveals today. An epidemic of disorders ranging from depression, anxiety and anorexia to violent delinquency has struck one in ten youngsters.”Quote Daily Mail June 20th 2006   Almost 5 years ago to the day, Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury hit headlines by defining a generation in crisis. His  remarks come on the same day that the Children’s Society launched an inquiry into the state of childhood, concerned at reports of rising levels of child depression in the UK. They expressed concern about a climate of "fear and confusion" among young people, pointing to higher levels of depression and mental illness in this country than elsewhere in the European Union.   5 years ago David Cameron delivered the following headline:  “The ‘Hoodies’ need love not hate”. Today he blamed the recent riots on selfishness and family breakdown. He began by attacking "moral neutrality" and relativism, where bad choices were explained as merely "different lifestyles". He blamed irresponsibility, selfishness and absent fathers for the riots Undoubtedly some of these issues may well write a script in some back stories for some of these young people. However, the writing on the wall is still not being read: ·         The British Psychological Society, and the Association of Educational Psychologists  are calling for an urgent review into the use of stimulant medications like Ritalin, given to children sometimes as young as 3, ( as was the case with one disaffected and dysfunctional young ‘Hoodie’ now aged 15, with whom I am now working). ·         These are  currently prescribed to young people to address ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. This is a  condition with symptoms defined by a behavioural checklist  which  includes  acting without considering consequences, impulsivity, lack of focus, outbursts of aggression to mention but a few. Approximately 2.5% of children aged between five and 17 in Britain today has ADHD. That translates as   220,000 young people. ·         60,000 of them are being given medication to help control their behaviour. ·         The number of prescriptions for these  drugs ( which work in a similar way to illegal drugs like speed or cocaine)  has risen  from 480,000 to 800,000 in the last five years. Despite  professionals within the worlds of psychiatry and psychology disagreeing  strongly on the use of this medication, as there are potentially serious side effects! Many children lose their appetite, or desire to sleep. A few children react badly, and therefore can have delusions and other serious side effects.   HOW MANY OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE ARRESTED FALL INTO THIS CATEGORY? HAS ANYONE DARED TO ASK THE QUESTION?   We live in times when more and more educational establishments are struggling with increasing demands and diminishing resources, as we face an autumn of planned strikes and demonstrations by professionals who work at the grass roots in the face of more public sector cuts and  job losses. The time has come to shift the focus from the political spin and embrace the solutions.   Let’s start looking at the writing on the wall.  Let’s start reading between the lines!   Linda Porter (B.A.,Cert.Ed. MIPTI, BFRP, MACTA, Dip.Phy, FMHET.), is a national educational consultant, teacher, therapist, author and media presenter. She has pioneered the HET Holistic Educational Therapy Programme 12 years ago. HET has won awards and commendations for behavioural support for families and professionals, living and working with challenging behaviours. She is currently working as an in-house consultant for an innovative alternative provision provider dealing with some of the most challenging behaviours in the country. Anyone wishing to access materials and resources or contact her for help can do so through