Showing posts with label Risk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Risk. Show all posts

Tuesday 12 March 2013

The risk of doing nothing

Everything you do entails some level of risk.  What is important is to understand the risk and takes steps, where necessary, to mitigate it.  We do this every day, even if we do not realise it.

 In the field of autism there are many risks to consider in daily life.  Many of them are the same risks that apply to very young typical children;  running out into the road without paying attention to the traffic, falling into an unattended swimming pool, even touching a hot iron, or hot pan on the cooker.  These are risks you can mitigate by good parenting.

When it comes to chemical/pharmacological interventions extreme care should be taken by the parents.  This puts them in an awkward question.  They undoubtedly want a miracle cure and thanks to the internet there is no difficulty in accessing them.  When such therapies are put forward by actual medical doctors, mainly from North America, you can hardly blame the parent for turning off their built-in risk assessor.  The doctor must know best.

I am not going to give you a list of the various chemicals/supplements/drugs that some parents are even injecting into their kids.

I think you need to do your own risk assessment of whatever intervention(s) you are going to use, be it behavioural, chemical, musical, swimming with dolphins etc.  If you are not able to assess the risk, then best not to take it.

If there is no downside, it is not going to be the end of the world if there turns out to be no benefit.  It may just lighten your wallet a little.

For me, the biggest issue has always been the risk of doing nothing.

My own experience with risk

I have taken some seemingly big risks in my time, but because I usually took mitigating action, I never came to regret them.  I travelled once from Delhi, up through floods in Nepal, across the Himalayas to Tibet, across to Hong Kong, then back to Beijing and across what was then Soviet Russia, to Moscow, then East Berlin over to the English Channel and home.  This was all done over land with public transport.  I came back without even a scratch, although several kilos lighter.

When you stop thinking about the risks, is when trouble will find you. A year after graduating from Imperial College, I heard that my favourite professor, Neil Watson, a world renowned expert on turbochargers (page 2 of link), had fallen off a ladder at home and killed himself.  Many years later, I nearly killed myself, on my own building site, falling backwards into an empty swimming pool.