Iain Macwhirter's revealing article on the improving health culture in Scotland was indeed welcome news (Finally some good news: Scotland's getting healthier, Comment, December 23).

We can only pray that Scotland's image as the sick man of Europe is at long last being dispelled.

However, there is one important area of public health that is not only showing no improvement but is getting decidedly worse. That is the area of neurological problems in children, including autistic spectrum disorder, speech and language disorders, and social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

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In Scottish schools there are almost 40,000 children with overlapping communication and socialisation issues, approximately one child in 17. Public health officials can rightly congratulate themselves on the improved statistics regarding heart disease in adults but when can we expect them to urgently address the problems besetting our children?

Bill Welsh

President, Autism Treatment Trust

Edinburgh