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Minimal Brain Dysfunction Myth-Reply

BARTON D. SCHMITT, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1976;130(8):901-902. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1976.02120090110024.
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In Reply—Dr Russman (Am J Dis Child 130:445,1976) makes a good case for early detection and intervention for preschoolers with short attention spans. However, the detection of children with visual-motor-perceptual problems prior to entering school is of more questionable value, considering the maturational aspects of this limitation. His suggestion that better educational programs for teachers and physicians would end the "damage-dysfunction" confusion misses the point. Even after the majority of professionals had this clear in their own minds (as most do already), most parents and children would still think and talk in terms of "damage." Finally, we both agree that diagnostic trials of stimulants are uninformative and unwarranted. However, in my experience, many physicians, educators, and psychologists do not know this, but carry the mistaken notion that a striking response to stimulants connotes an organic causation.

Dr Zuckerman restricts his remarks to psychological tests. If these tests help with

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