Calvert, Dr Chrystella. Society Must Protect Its Most Vulnerable Members
To Whom It May Concern
I am a behavioural Pediatrician and I specialize in assessment and care of children with developmental and mental health problems. My patient, Joey Correia, has been under my care since May, 2007. He has complex developmental issues including significant Sensory Processing Disorder.
He has always been sensitive to sensory environmental stimuli, which is quite noxious and problematic. Through sensitive and thoughtful interventions, by school and family, Joey has been able to cope much better. Much focus has been placed on reducing strong or noxious stimuli in the immediate environment.
Every human attempt to understand their world via input through the sensory organs which detect changes or threats in the environment. Noxious stimuli (or unexpected, or unnatural stimuli) are a source of environmental stress that affect the human brain and mounts a physiologic response to restabilize. For “typical” brains, known sources of environmental stress include airports, highways and industry. Wind turbines concern me, given my strong knowledge of neurobiology. Due to well-documented disruption to the .. ”normal” environment (vibration, noxious repetitive sound) this is potentially a danger to health. There is also a rational fear that families living near these structures are being exposed, and have no reassurance of the long-term effects on health, particularly brain biology. In children, the developing brain is exquisitely sensitive and plastic – it relies on clean inputs to develop normally. Science has no evidence that this abnormal, incessant stimulus does not have long lasting effects on the developing fetal child and adolescent brain. Applying basic principles in fact suggest great danger of disrupting normal human neural networks. Certainly Joey is exceptionally more vulnerable. I have seen him become destabilized and quite impaired due to sensory overload. It results in agitation, insomnia, and mood changes. He is currently functioning very well and has a very good quality of life. His mother purposely moved to a quiet, rural home as an accommodation for Joey.
I, as a “normal brain” (or typical brain) individual would not want this risk to my mental health (or my children’s) in my neighbourhood. The placement of these devices must be thoughtful and, of course, “first, do no harm.” In a developed society like Canada, we must advocate and protect the most vulnerable members. Joey, and all our children deserve our thoughtful and ethical best.
Dr Chrystella Calvert
5 October 2012