[BPSDB]In his excellent book “Bad Science”, one of Ben Goldacre’s targets is the medicalising of social issues by both the pharmaceutical giants and the alternative pill peddlers. I was reminded of this recently when I read of a mother of a teenager who was claiming that giving him an ASBO was unfair because his medical condition was not being taken into account.
He had been given the usual warning that if he breached the terms of his ASBO he would wind up in the slammer (I’m paraphrasing slightly here). This was discriminatory, apparantly, because said teenager allegedly suffers from a condition that causes him to do the opposite of what those in authority tell him. It is called Oppositional Defiance Disorder (I swear I am not making this up but I strongly suspect somebody is).
I am not convinced that this disorder exists but it will be easy to test for. Expose a live high voltage wire in front of some ‘sufferers’ and order them on no account to touch said wire. It is my hypothesis that these ODD kids’ sense of self-preservation would take over. Somehow I don’t think I’ll get this past an ethics committee.
I have a niggling suspicion that this acronym was invented on the spur of the moment by a teacher (or possibly a social worker). I can visualise somebody writing of a pupil/client/customer “X is such an ODD child” (capitalising for emphasis), then, when taken to task for daring to use such judgemental language excusing him/herself by saying “ODD” is an acronym and inventing an appropriate disorder.
With that in mind, I thought I’d celebrate the end of term by inventing disorders that will allow you to use judgemental and non-PC words to describe your little cherubs.
DUMB = Defiance Underpinning Maladaptive Behaviour (this obviously is the American use of dumb to mean stupid rather than the British meaning of mute)
THICKO = Teach Holistically. Imbibes Concrete Knowledge Only
NUMPTIES = Nugatory Understanding May Prevent The Ideal Exam Standard. This works best in Scotland:- “Mr McTaggert will be teaching the NUMPTIES this year.”
If I think of anymore I’ll add them.