Benjamin, due to your response I have clarified my title. I am not talking about children with severe mental health issues, but children who are given drugs for under performing. Children with severe mental health problems often do need special care and special drugs.
I do believe we can reduce the overwhelming anxiety that contributes to severe mental health problems in children if we simply allow children to preserve the integrity of their relationship to information. A human’s relationship to information is really his primary and most crucial relationship. Survival of the fittest is really survival of the individual who can organize, understand, and respond to information in the most optimal ways in relationship to his own sensory, motor, and nervous systems.
In addition to having observed hundreds and hundreds of children over time in multiple settings, I have done extensive research. I would suggest the book, ‘On Intelligence,’ by Jeff Hawkins for some of the latest research on the neocortex. Hawkins has found evidence for the existence of a neocortical algorithm, meaning our entire neocortex is processing sensory information in exactly the same way, regardless of what kind of sensory information. Our neocortex is architecturally the same in its entirety. If I am blind, the area typically reserved for processing visual information will be assigned to process something else because the neocortex processes information the same for all senses.
I think you misread some of my essay because it sounds like we share much agreement about the brain. I do in fact believe I am my brain. I wrote an essay on Medium called ‘A Conversation With My Brain.’ In it I identify my personality to be a reflection of what my brain does. Basically, I am a decision in a moment.
Because I understand information in relatively stable ways at each developmental level due to how my sensory, motor, and nervous systems integrate, my personality presents in a relatively stable manner through time.
I am also in agreement that my behaviors are a reflection of what my brain is doing in any given moment. My behaviors not only reflect what my brain is able to do and is doing in any given moment, but my behaviors also play a supporting role for my brain. My behaviors support my brain to enable it to sense, assess, conclude, predict, decide, and act optimally.
For example, if I hear a loud crash, my brain cues my musculature to rotate my neck so my eyes can look for where the sound is coming from. If my brain ascertains there is danger after taking in auditory and visual sensory information and forming a predictive conclusion about that information, my brain will cue me to engage my leg muscles to stand and then my brain will cues my whole body to quickly run from the danger. If my brain has predicted I must get to a safe place, it needs me to engage in running behavior to fulfill its prediction. If my body did not fulfill each behavioral directive of my brain, I would never change my body position and would have a greatly reduced capacity as an organism.
My point is each individual’s brain and behaviors are uniquely integrated and the integrity must be preserved for that individual’s physical and mental health. Because I actually am what my brain does, it follows that my primary relationship as a mammal is my relationship to information, and again, survival of the fittest is really survival of those with the most successful relationship to information.
This sounds sterile and the opposite from our more touchy-feely psychological ideas and verbiage. However, without our relationship to information, we could not love or perform any of our human functions.
For example, as an infant, my mother registers as information to be processed and assessed so my brain can make predictions about her, form conclusions for how to interact with her, and make decisions for how to act in relationship to her.
My brain regards everything it encounters, people, things, events, etc. as information to organize, assess, respond do, and make predictions about. Emotional cues accompany all of my predictive decision-making tasks to help me optimize these tasks and make the most successful predictive decisions possible. My brain has to perform the same functions to assess information, regardless of what form the information takes.
Where we might differ is the belief that psychiatrists and psychologists should rely upon a person’s behaviors to identify whether or not he has a personality disorder or mental illness. I believe there can be no such thing as a behavioral disorder. Humans exhibit behaviors for crucial reasons due to their unique relationship to information. Human behaviors make sense to the ways in which their sensory, motor, and nervous systems integrate in relationship to information as they sense, assess, and respond to it.
Targeting certain behaviors to change in a child destabilizes him and actually sets him up for a mental illness. Constant destabilization causes withdrawal, depression, aggression, rage, violence, and eventually the kinds of adaptations we refer to as mental illnesses. Helping a child achieve a learning goal by finding the right fit between the goal and his ability to understand information instead of behavior management or drugs might take many tries, but it is well worth the effort for the sake of that child’s mental health.
Research now tells us psychiatric medicines are not doing what has been claimed about them. Nobody knows how psychiatric drugs actually work. So nobody can make definitive claims about them.
What I know from observation is messing with a child’s behaviors or brain destabilizes a child in his ability to sense, assess, conclude, and decide in the ways that make sense to his brain, his degree of depth perception and visual acuity, his eye-hand coordination, his level of muscle tone, his height and weight, his stored memories, his spatial awareness, his processing speed, the duration of his short term memory, etc. To reduce mental illness, we must learn how to allow a child to preserve his unique relationship to information.
Destabilizing a child’s relationship to information with drugs or behavior management, I believe, is the root cause of mental illness. Once destabilized, a child’s brain will change how it processes information. If we look at brain imaging results after a child has been destabilized for a period of years, we will mix up cause and effect. Mental illness does not cause mental illness. Destabilizing the integrity of a child’s relationship to information is very likely one of the main causes of mental illness.