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October 11th 2000 - 23:30 BST

The BBC Gets It Right At Last

Following their dreadful Panorama program, the BBC vindicated themselves a little today, with a very good dramatisation of a child with ADHD, it's causes, medication and the problems parents experience. Caroline of gives a synopsis of today's episode of "Doctors", the second series of the new popular lunchtime soap.

Dr Helen Thompson .......... Corrinne Wicks
Kate McGuire .......... Maggie Cronin
Dr Rana Mistry .......... Akbar Kurtha
Ruth Harding .......... Yvonne Brewster
Joanna Helm .......... Sarah Manners
Tessa Corcoran (Mum) .......... Joanne Thirsk
Garry Corcoran (Dad) .......... Damien Lyne
Dylan Corcoran (Child) .......... Sam Thornton
Written by .......... Ronnie Henry

"A mother dropped her son off to stay with his Dad for the night. Dad immediately gave him a couple of souvenirs from his recent tour of the United States as a musician and tells him he has set up the computer for him. The child sat at the computer and Dad turned to Mum and said the famous words "see he can pay attention when he wants to." When getting ready to take the child to school the following morning, Dad checks his son's lunch box which Mum had prepared for him and finds his medication (Ritalin) which he promptly flushes down the toilet. His son was crying saying he needed his tablet. Next we saw Mum picking the child up from school. When he tells her what had happened, she goes straight to the doctor for another prescription.

She asks the receptionist, Joanna Helm, to keep an eye on the child while she sees the doctor. During her conversation with Dr Helen Thompson she says that Dad didn't understand and asks the doctor if she could speak to him. Meanwhile the child is bombing around reception causing the mayhem us parents of ADHD youngsters have come to know so well. When Mum leaves she asks if the child has been OK and Joanna says with a great big smile "good as gold".

A conversation then occurs between Joanna, the Practice Manager Kate McGuire and Dr Rana Mistry. Dr. Mistry explains ADHD very well to Joanna and adds that ADHD children are usually very bright, mentioning Winston Churchill, who he says is believed to have had the condition.

Dad then appears and tells Dr. Thompson how he doesn't want his child on mind altering drugs and she tries to explain ADHD to him, without success, how it was diagnosed by a child psychiatrist and how the medication was helping the child and his relationship with his mother. There is then a conversation between Dr. Mistry and Dr. Thompson about the condition, the medication and how it was acknowledged that medication works. In addition they both agreed how a lot of problems have stemmed from the recent bad press. Alternative therapies were discussed including Cranial Osteopathy and it was agreed that a discussion about these with Dad might open a dialogue between the parents.

We next see Mum arriving to meet the child from school to find that Dad had already picked him up. She goes straight to the doctor who says she has information on alternative therapies, which may help. At that moment Dad walks in. He says he had looked up ADHD on the Internet, talked with others and thought more about what had been said. He had also spoken with his son, who had said he feels better on medication and shows him his homework. He tells Dad that he no longer feels like a 'thickey' and he can do things better now.

Dr. Thompson mentions the alternative therapy but Dad says he now realises that ADHD can be hereditary and how he was as a child. He says he feels guilty for passing this on and agrees to keep him on the medication. Dr and Mum looked suitably shocked."

This was an excellent dramatisation showing a really positive approach to the condition and it's medication. I really hope this is expanded on in a future episode showing the progress of the child and hopefully Dad receiving an adult diagnosis. For a change ...... Well Done BBC.


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