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Test mad

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Sal Feehan (guest blogger) | 00:00 UK time, Thursday, 13 October 2005

Hi gang! Have you noticed how we've become obsessed with tests over the years? Between kids being tested every week at school, to the latest in medical testing that promises extra sensitivity and accuracy (which sounds like blurb nicked from Ann Summers!), this country has gone test mad. Good thing?

Well, after nosing on the net, I found this little nugget in the Sydney Morning Herald: Ethical dilemmas on pre-natal screening. The article reports that results from various international studies have found that women are poorly educated about pre-natal testing; it looks at the ramifications of this, and how disabilities are portrayed in society.

After I read it, I thought: yes! The voice of reason! Recently, one of my friends went through the antenatal system. It's so pessimistic and paranoid that it would make Jeremiah look positively optimistic. The problem is that everyone thinks that these tests are the be all and end all - well, they're not. They are highly risky and not that accurate.

Both Adam Hills and Laurence Clark have touched on this in the past, and I agree with them. We need to stop being obsessed with so-called perfection and change the language to one of optimism. OK, take Christy Brown: Renaissance man and party animal, or Cerebral Palsy sufferer? Albert Einstein: the greatest mind of the 20th Century, or a dyslexic with Aspergers? Spike Milligan: comic genius, or manic-depressive? We remember the former, not the latter. It's because of their disabilities that they excelled in their chosen fields. What we lack in comparison, we have countless attributes that they will never possess. It's a half-full glass. We - and the world at large - must "always look on the bright side of life", as life is full of surprises.


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  • At 12:00 AM on 13 Oct 2005, BlindMattitude wrote:

Agreed that everywhere is test mad lately, there doesnt seem to be a day goes by where a test of some sort isnt seen - in the past 2 days I have had to do a number of tests in hospital (four being blood tests!) - although may not excactly count...

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