Autism Quality standard published

This Autism  quality standard introduces sensible if challenging standards for health and social care  commissioners and services, and is required reading.

Unfortunately, as NICE has no jurisdiction over Education, there is a gaping hole where standards for schools ought to be. Another missed opportunity caused by fragmentation and silo thinking.

Almost half of children have been so stressed they can’t sleep: Big Lottery Fund

Almost half of children have been so stressed they can’t sleep: Big Lottery Fund.

This really is the finding of a YouGov poll of 10-14 year olds. Exam and family stresses unsurprisingly dominate. Of course similar (probably larger) numbers of adults lose sleep over worries, so in a way this puts to bed the idea that children don’t get stressed about things, and are in some sense more oblivious to external pressures. 

I’m especially interested in the finding that “75 per cent of children aged 10-14 think that a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body”. So why aren’t services, and training,  designed with this in mind?


Getting mental health into paediatric training- we need your help!

Dear PMHA members,

One of our main aims is to integrate training into the emotional and behavioural aspects of paediatrics into mainstream training. We’ve had great success at the curriculum level, but we need to make sure that the competences that are sppecified actually get assessed and trained for.

As exec members, we are doing what we can. but there is one area where we need your help. Please volunteer for your local MRCPCH question-writing day, and ensure that the questions set reflect the rich emotional, social and behavioural content of the curricula, rather that the narrow biological focus that is more traditional.

for more details keep an eye out locally, or see


Winter meeting 2014- provisional programme!

The exciting provisional programme for our meeting has been released!

highgate 14 flyer

The meeting will be held at Highgate House, near Northampton, on the 30th and 31st January 2014

Thursday 30th (10am-4pm) will be an ‘Infant mental health study day’

Topics: Supporting parents in early infancy (little minds matter team, Portsmouth)

Early infant development (Prof Vasu Reddy)

Infant mental health (Dr Margaret Thompson)

Attachment in practice (Dr Matthew Woolgar, tbc)

We will then have the  Otto Wolffe Memorial Guest Lecture from Graham Music – Author of “Nurturing Natures”, followed by our annual dinner!

On Friday 31st January we start with our AGM, then we will have a half-day Sleep Symposium by Dr Cathy Hill and the Southampton Sleep Team

After lunch we will have two practical workshops:

Emotional awareness in clinical practice (Dr Jackie Preston) and

Attachment narrative therapy- applications to ADHD (Prof Rudi Dallos)

It promises to be a varied and highly stimulating few days- please come!!

Registration will open soon- check back here for details

Child Behaviour: Not In Their Genes?
This piece from discovery magazine covers new work looking at the DNA roots of the behaviors that result in neurodevelopmental and mental health diagnoses in children. The conclusion, that they found none, is rather discomforting.
The question is: have we been mislead by heritability studies into ignoring environmental determinants e.g. for ASD, or is the inheritance happening in some other way?