London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Leyton 1964

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Leyton]

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During the year the number of sessions at Leyton Green and Dawlish Road were
increased to two a week. Park House continued with three sessions a week.
The increase in the number of weekly sessions was greatly appreciated because,
although children did improve on attending one morning a week, the progress made was
slow and the waiting list lengthened so that the preventive aspect of the development
sessions was reduced in effectiveness by the long delay in getting the children to
attend. The waiting list is still long and it is hoped that eventually there will be
five sessions a week at each clinic.
There is no doubt that the children who go to the development sessions need the
play therapy that is provided for them there. It was noticed at one of the Christmas
parties how striking was the attitude of the mothers to the children, the majority of
them seemed unable to "give out" much feeling towards their children and were in themselves
rather withdrawn and depressed.
All the mothers are asked to report back to the warden after they leave the
development sessions to go to school as to how they have settled down in school. A
very few of the children do not settle well; the majority do seem to be able to make a
good adjustment when they go to school and the mothers themselves think that if they
had not had the help of the development sessions there would have been quite marked
difficulties when the child did first go to school.
Dr. Little, the Consultant Psychiatrist of the Child Guidance Clinic, attends at
each clinic once a month to discuss any problems with the Warden or with the children's
mothers and in this way helps to resolve some of the difficulties being experienced by
parents or children.

Although these will not necessarily be for children with problems they will allow children with minor disturbances or with very restricted play facilities in their own homes or in the neighbourhood of their homes, particularly the children who live in high flats, tobenefit from the release of their now aggressive instincts and allow them to express themselves in the free sort of play which we now know is very healthy for the emotional state of children at older years.

Park HouseLeyton GreenDawlish Road
Total number of sessions1516766
Total attendances1,960816661
Children who attended in the year494936
Average attendance per session13.012.210.0
Average attendances per child40.016.618.4
Children on roll 31.12.64233125
Children on waiting list 31.12.64452320

This register of children, who have a history either pre-natally or at birth which
makes follow-up desirable, continues to function. By these administrative means a
large number of children specially at risk are referred for medical examination in the
first two years when defects which otherwise might be unsuspected are carefully sought.