But with this my ire boils over and if I don't blog a bit to release the pressure, I fear I may blow.
A man called Tony Humphreys has written an article available in the print edition of The Irish Examiner on February 3 2012. The article has been reproduced in full here. Humphreys describes himself as "Ireland’s most influential psychologist" and he runs courses at University College Cork and All Hallows College, Dublin. To read his article however, you would be forgiven for thinking he has absolutely zero knowledge or experience of autism. It ranks as one of the worst and most detestable diatribes relating to autism I have had the misfortune to read and given that I have been examining the world of autism quackery and myth for 10 years, that's really something special.
He starts by referring to the work of Professor Simon Baron-Cohen and the Cambridge Autism Research Centre saying that "the children and grandchildren of engineers were more likely to be autistic." But then Humphreys expresses shock that these researchers are "assuming that autism is a scientific fact".
Yes really, we can stop right here and know that Ireland's most
Though he has already shown himself to be ignorant of autism science, I shall soldier on because Humphreys decides now to slander all parents of autistic children but also all engineers and scientists by claiming that as we all "live predominanently in [our] heads and possess few or no heart qualities, [our] children will need to find some way of defending themselves against the absence of expressed love and affection and emotional receptivity".
The Irish Examiner has thought it right to publish an article in which the author denies the existence of autism and claims that the children currently diagnosed as such are merely reacting to their cold and loveless upbringings.
After all, the deepest need of every child is to be unconditionally loved and the absence of it results in children shutting down emotionally themselves because to continue to spontaneously reach out for love would be far too painful.This is a rehash of the comprehensibly discredited "refrigerator mother" hypothesis of autism. The truth is that autism is lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people.
Children's wellbeing mostly depends on emotional security - a daily diet of nurture, love, affection, patience, warmth, tenderness, kindness and calm responses to their expressed welfare and emergency feelings. To say that these children have a genetic and/or neurobiological disorder called autism or ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) only adds further to their misery and condemns them to a relationship history where their every thought and action is interpreted as arising from their autism.
Humphreys next asserts that parents seek help for their autistic children to avoid examining their "own emotional and social struggles.
it is their adult carers who often need more help than they do."
Humphreys further exposes his ignorance by distinguishing incorrectly between "the autism described by psychiatrist Leo Kanner in 1943 and the much more recently described ASD (autistic spectrum disorder, often referred to as Asperger's syndrome)."
These two are the same thing. He next spins the gender differences in autism diagnoses to fit his notion of autism as caused by cold, unloving parents.
Mike Stanton blogged about the Sami Timimi book Humphreys refers to next. Read Mike's post for a thorough assessment of Timmini's assertion that the autism "label should be abolished".
The authors are not saying that the children are not emotionally and socially troubled. What they are saying is - and I concur with them - that focus needs to be on the relationship contexts of these children's livews, and to take each child for the individual he or she is and to examine closely the family and community narratives and discover creative possibilities for change and for more dynamic and hopeful stories to emerge for both the children and their carers.
Dr Tony Humphreys is a consultant clinical psychologist, author and national and international speaker. His book 'All About Children" is relevant to todays article.Humpreys decries the autism industry, though he clearly wants a bit of that action for himself. He has a book out that is "relevant to today's article" and it sounds like he reckons we need people like him to examine our narratives. Nought like a spot of old fashioned psychoanalysis to sort out our selfish ways, eh Tony?
Or perhaps Tony Humphreys is just looking for a spot of provacateur columnist work like Kevin Myers, Rod Liddle, Jan Moir and Liz Jones. Either way both he and the Irish Examiner should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. I shall expect a retraction and an apology.