Sunday, 17 July 2011


Most people who have been in a car with small children at some point in their life are familiar with the phrase: “Are we nearly there, yet?”

The repetition of a question over and over again can be a particularly effective form of mental torture. Luckily, most children grow out of it. Unfortunately, some children with Prader-Willi Syndrome don't. There is a proper term for it: 'Perseveration'. (I've got my own rather Anglo-Saxon way of describing it, but perhaps this isn't the place). 

'Perseveration’ in the medical sense is as follows:

per·sev·er·a·tion (pr-sv-rshn) n.
1) Uncontrollable repetition of a particular response, such as a word, phrase, or gesture, despite the absence or cessation of a stimulus, usually caused by brain injury or other organic disorder.
2) The tendency to continue or repeat an act or activity after the cessation of the original stimulus.

So, pop-pickers, I’ve compiled a handy Top Five of this week’s favourite questions/phrases, with a small explanation of each:

1) “Is the chain still good?
We’re moving house, and have taken great pains at every step of the way to explain how a housing chain works and how it can break down at the last minute.
2) “Have I still got lots of teeth?” 
This stems from my daughter’s worries that if she grinds her teeth, they’ll wear away and disappear.
3) “Is my voice too quiet?
A current obsession with the volume of things, leading neatly into... 
4) “I’m deaf.” 
A misunderstood lesson at school on how your hearing works has her believing anything vaguely loud will ‘vibrate the hairs in her ears until they break and she goes deaf’.
5) “When’s dinner/tea/breakfast/snack time?” (delete as applicable)
This should really be at number one, but it’s such a constant in our life that we actually do a pretty good job at deflecting this one with distraction techniques.

Of course, this kind of thing is not just confined to people with PWS. I understand ALL teenagers have the same problem, but oddly with just two questions: “Can you give me a lift?” and “Can you lend me a tenner?”

Video is Fleetwood Mac - The Chain

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