Tony Humphreys needs to be clearer- he needs to say, "On Friday I had an article published in which I directly and unequivocally claimed that bad parenting causes autism.I was wrong and I apologise."Dr Tony Humphreys said parents were "never to blame" for autism and his intention was simply "to inform and enlighten" the public of research in the area.
Because that is what happened. This is just more bullshit spin. He was not attempting to "inform and enlighten" he was making a claim he had zero evidence for.
He has been severely criticised for his article in last Friday’s Irish Examiner which gave the impression parents were to blame for their child’s condition. Yesterday, he said he never intended "to hurt anybody".The article did more than "[give] the impression parents were to blame for their child’s condition" in the article he made his opinion perfectly clear- parents are to blame for their child's condition.
Tony Humphreys is quoted:
"My intentions were honourable. I wanted to inform the public of up-to-date research that is there. It was never my intention to hurt anybody.I care not what his intentions were, I'm interested in the facts and the very real effects. If he hadn't intended to hurt anyone he should not have written his toxic, damaging article. He did not inform the public of up-to-date research, he was rehashing a theory comprehensibly discredited 50 years ago.
"I have the greatest compassion for parenting. It is the most important profession we have in society and one which we get the least preparation for. We don’t prepare parents for the complexity of what is involved."
Dr Humphreys said he simply wished to show research that had proposed a broader examination of autism rather than focusing on it as simply a genetic neurobiological disorder.Tony Humphreys informed people of nothing but his own prejudice and ignorance. He may have seen this going differently in his imagination but thankfully, I don't live in Tony Humphreys' head and the reality is, he hasn't a clue what current research says. His buff about looking into the families of children with autism counts for nothing. Is he going to have someone poke into the "complexities and intricacies" of everyone's family life? We know from his other writings that he thinks parents cause all sorts of conditions from IBS to asthma, so Tony Humphreys would probably say yes, lets examine the dynamics of every family in the country and check they adhere to some state mandated level of love and support. That's bound to work.
"There are complexities and intricacies of family life that didn’t come through in what has been said.
"What I wanted to inform people of is that we need to look at children in a broader sense and look at every aspect of their lives, every relationship they have, at their social and economic experiences, rather than just focusing on a hypothetical, neurobiological defect.
"I wanted to point out that we should look at every aspect of a child’s life in order to truly understand why children behave a certain way," he said.
At a public meeting in Cork last night, a mother of a five-year-old boy with autism confronted him but he refused to elaborate on what he had written in the Irish Examiner, and said he had already given his response to criticism.Well done that mum. He has given a response, but it is totally inadequate.
Dr Tony Humphreys responded to comments on blogs and social media websites which questioned his professional background. He pointed out he had a BA (hons) and MA (hons) in applied psychology from UCC and a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Birmingham.His qualifications do not protect him from justifiable criticism. Parents of autistic children, autistic people themselves and professionals with a real knowledge and understanding of the condition are united in their criticism of his piece. Knowledgeable, experienced and skilled psychologists, both educational and clinical, have expertise on autism and can be incredibly helpful to families. I have had valuable input from these professionals at various stages. Tony Humphreys is bringing the profession into disrepute. Parents may be put off using their services in fear of finding others with stone age views like Humphreys.
Dr Humphreys worked for eight years with Mid-Western Health Board psychiatric services and for two years in Staffordshire Health Authority in Britain. He also has 20 years’ experience as a courses director and lecturer in UCC.
I also am very concerned that a man with his views is allowed to teach anyone and the reputation of UCC is damaged by its connection with this man.