They published wonderful letters from parents and people critical of the article. There was also a letter from Waterford music therapist, Jim Cosgrove in agreement with Humphreys. I wonder is he has any autistic children as clients. I wonder if he still will after today.
There is an excellent article by Kevin Whelan, the chief executive of Irish Autism Action, refuting the article and describing the reality of parents and families struggling and coping as best they can with unbounded love and determination. Lastly, Tony Humphreys is once again given a platform for his opinion in a piece entitled, "Research is crucial to care debate." Research is, conjecture ain't.
IN ALL my work over the years in supporting families with their very real difficulties it has been clear to me that parents always do their best; it would be an act of neglect on my part to withhold information, because information is a very important source of support.It is now clear to him that parents always do their best, a far cry from the defamatory statements he made on Friday about how parents seek help for their children only to avoid looking into their "own emotional and social struggles" and that we "often need more help than [our autistic children] do."
But what is this information he has such a duty to impart?
My intention in last Friday’s article was to give people information that has emerged in recent times in relation to troubling behaviours in children that are commonly called autistic spectrum disorders (ASD). This ASD perspective has dominated and has been presented as fact. My goal was to show there is another perspective on this and that what has been presented as fact is not fact; it is simply a perspective. It is very important we hold an open mind and keep ourselves informed.Aw here, why are all of us who have autistic family members getting so stressed, he's only wanting to offer a new perspective. We may have struggled for years to have our concerns about our children taken seriously, and may have navigated the complex diagnostic system and sat with our children through many difficult multidisciplinary assessments before they received the diagnosis. But we shouldn't be so damned closed minded, we ought to listen to Dr Tony- there are no facts, there are only perspectives! Duh, it must be those broader autistic phenotyoes some of us have that limit us to black and white thinking. We probably believe in gravity and the germ theory of disease, dismissing all alternative perspectives!
This is preposterous, Tony Humphreys is rejecting reality.
The seminal work in 2011 The Myth of Autism by Dr Sami Timimi, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, and his two colleagues provides very important findings from rigorous research and scientific enquiry. Incidentally, Dr Timimi and one of his co-authors had been diagnosed with ASD when they were children. In the interest of responding effectively and caringly to both children and their parents and teachers, it is crucial this research-based information be taken into account.Oh it's a seminal work! Can I argue with that. Well, yes.
The authors he places so much faith in disagree with his assertions, saying "We are NOT saying any of the following: 1. Autism is a condition caused by poor parenting." Moreover, real scientists refer to peer reviewed scientific publications from respected journals when citing research, not popular science books. Mike Stanton has explained, the book was only "a mixture of reviews of certain areas and detailed analysis of particular papers."
There are very important policy and care decisions involved here. If we can stay open to different perspectives and engage in mature debate, our chances of coming up with the best solutions for what are very real difficulties in family and school holding worlds increase enormously.