Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Learning and Other Developmental Disorders in India

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Learning and Other Developmental Disorders in India

Article excerpt

Byline: Philip. John

Articles that include Learning and Developmental Disorders have been gathered from the Indian Journal of Psychiatry (IJP) archives, and are broadly discussed. Learning disorders (LD) are not pure syndromes. They are developmental disorders and are multi-dimensional in nature. Research areas in Child Psychiatry in India remain largely unexplored, especially developmental disorders. The potential for research is mind boggling. Original research must keep pace with work in the west, and must be of a high order. Results must be published in our national journal and not abroad, in order to bestow prestige to our journal, so the world can sit up and take notice.


"Humans were not born to read, or to write".

(Rosemary Tannock)

Annotations are explanatory notes; the editor's brief to me was to review articles pertaining to Learning Disorders that were published in the IJP. These have been abysmally few, yet many studies allude to these disorders. The passionate editorial by T.S.S. Rao and V.S.T. Krishna on "Stars on the Ground" [sup][1] and the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Specific Learning Disorders by Nilesh Shah and Tushar Bhat" [sup][2] are exceptions.

For obvious reasons, outstanding or original studies by psychiatrists done in India used to get published abroad or in various national journals; or, if they failed to replicate western thought, they did not get published at all.

We seem to live in reverential wonder of the western thinking (which may be fine), but often refuse to contemplate out of that box. More than a decade ago, some of us thought that Asperger's syndrome may be a high-functioning autistic disorder, and later, that obsessive disorder in childhood, unlike adult obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), may be developmental in origin. These thoughts could not then cross the peer-review barrier, as our fraternity was bound by western concepts; yet today we so willingly accept them! The absence of publication of similar original thinking and work in our Indian journal not only takes away the prestige of the journal, but also puts us a step behind the west every time.

For the amount of replications of western studies that we do, whether they are epidemiological methods or 'standardizing' instruments, such articles must not make us appear like the footslogger trying to catch up with the racing car.

Do deliver old wine in new bottles, after appropriate research

We, in India, have been apologetic of examining our traditional concepts to present them as concrete paradigms for prevention or management of disorders. If cognitive behavior therapy can be a concrete management strategy, so can the doctrines of the Bhagawad Gita, provided we can formulate them as a concrete management strategy through appropriate research and publication. It is one of the most successful paradigms for restructuring cognition even during brief contact with patients, whether children on the eve of their exams, or adults after failing to get a coveted promotion. In Anxiety, or in Depression. The simplicity of its application, even for the patient whose metacognition is poor, is its true strength.

Or for that matter, look at our traditional Hierarchical Parenting strategies. Parenting by keeping a personal space from them teaches our children discipline without having to punish, tolerance without having to indulge and respect without having to yell or scream. Such a 'hierarchical parenting package' can build capacity in our children for tolerance to frustration, tolerance to criticism, and a tolerance to change; it can teach them the strength of internal discipline, which has been the traditional Indian expectation from parenting. However, such prudent parenting is today rebuked and ridiculed by many of us because it is not 'stylish', not acceptable to the metropolitanism of our media, and inimical to the western family percept! …

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