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  1. #1
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    Default Dateline: stunting growth of disabled children

    On Dateline tonight, there is discussion about whether parents should be able to stunt the growth of disabled children in order to better care for them.

    What are your thoughts?

    For those that want to watch, it's on SBS at 9:30pm.

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    I was just telling my DH about this. I saw an article about it today.

    I plan to watch so I can contribute an informed opinion.

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    atomicmama  (21-06-2016)

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    I think it should be accessible in Australia.
    Obviously, it's not a decision that a doctor would make lightly, so it would probably be quite a rare occurrence anyway.

    When it comes to caring for someone with a physical disability as high needs as those that will be on the show, the limits placed upon them as they grow can get quite substantial. Basic things that you & I (generally speaking) take for granted can get practically impossible.

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    Mod-Degrassi  (21-06-2016)

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    The two children featured in this story are profoundly disabled. I can definitely see why the parents have chosen to stunt their growth.

    These children's care needs are so significant - if something can be done to make their ongoing parental care possible (rather than surrendering them to a facility when they reach adult years), I think that's a positive outcome for all.

    Yes it's controversial to make this decision when they cannot consent, but I would imagine such treatment would only ever be made available in the most extreme of cases.

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    Gosh. This sounds very interesting. I'll have to watch on catch up.

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    I think they said this treatment has been administered 70 odd times worldwide? That's a very small number, so as you said, it would only be for the most extreme cases.

    It would help maintain a quality of life that often diminishes once they reach adulthood, because many things become far too impractical or complicated, like getting on to a beach, going on holidays, or even going to a friend's house.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamtam View Post
    Gosh. This sounds very interesting. I'll have to watch on catch up.
    It actually wasn't as informative as I was hoping, though it did give first hand accounts of two families and what the treatment has meant for them. It's called growth-attenuation therapy, if you want to read about it

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    My mum works as a respite carer for people with disabilities. They often have very loving families who are struggling to afford care, but can't look after their adult child themselves due to the fact that they are getting older themselves and can't lift them to help them toilet, bathe, etc. I also have a friend whose 2yo son has a degenerative condition, he will become profoundly disabled by the time he's a teenager. At the age of 2 he's already the size of a 4yo, and she's very worried about how she'll continue to care for him as he gets older. She's only petite, and is already struggling to lift and carry him.

    So I do think that this should be an option in certain circumstances, where its going to improve the quality of care and quality of life for all involved.

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