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Laura Batstra: is a psychiatric approach the best way to help overactive children?

Is a psychiatric approach the best way to help overactive children?

While working in child psychiatry from 2005 to 2010, I observed two things: first, how quickly children were subjected to psychiatric diagnoses and treatments, and second, how common it is that children who are ‘different’ face social exclusion. These became the starting points of two projects: and


At Druk&Dwars we assist parents of overactive children without the requirement that they have been diagnosed. We hope to help children avoid unnecessary psychiatrically labelling so that specialized care is reserved for those with the most serious and persistent problems. We also conduct research on educational material about ADHD. Often, we find it to be outdated and one-sidedly biomedical in orientation (‘ADHD is a brain disorder which requires medication’). We have assembled an online lecture with more balanced information which addresses the role of factors like poverty and social exclusion.

Overactive children, or those who are ‘different’, are often left out of social groups, for example, by not being invited to birthday parties. This causes much suffering and can make problems worse. We try to determine if school class parties can help prevent exclusion and ease behavioural problems: if each child invites their class as a whole, there are no children who never attend a birthday party. It teaches children at a young age that everyone belongs, even those you find a little weird or not so nice. The project receives a lot of media attention. By emphasizing that anyone can help address social exclusion, we hope to contribute what we can to a more inclusive society.

prof. dr. L. (Laura) Batstra
First name
Demedicalisation and normalisation of challenging child behaviors
Dealing with challinging child behaviors
Last modified:30 March 2023 09.47 a.m.
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