Healthy kids, healthy minds

There's a doctor in Patterson Lakes, Victoria, who makes sausage dogs and aeroplanes out of balloons for all his young patients.

It works on so many levels. The kids are enthralled and relaxed, mums and dads learn a new trick, and he’s the go-to guy on the local parental word-of-mouth referral circuit.

But this slightly maverick approach also has medical significance. “Balloons can also be a useful diagnostic tool. Autistic kids can be scared of balloons and anxious that they might burst,” explains Dr Michael Stobie, of the Cove Family Medical Centre.

This is the kind of observation,