Tony Humphreys psychologist has recently published an article whereby he draws a link between parents not giving their children enough affection and autism. Actually my blood is boiling just writing that sentence!
The theory of the “refrigerator Mother”, a psychoanalytic theory – was one of the first explanations for autism. This was the theory that these children were enclosed within their own world because their Mothers did not give them the love that they craved, therefore they became autistic. This was a theory that caused so much pain and upset to Mothers of children with autism who hadn’t enough to deal with considering their children had just been diagnosed with a lifelong disability that had no known cure.
This theory has long long long been disputed, because like much of psychoanalysis it is based solely on theory and not fact (excuse my dig at psychoanalysis but i am a trainee behaviour analyst lol). So this psychologist has decided to revisit this “theory” and it is no surprise that apparently he has a few books to sell (a little controversy always helps)
So since this psychologist has decided to base his report on theory i thought i would blog about some facts.
Fact number 1 – The theory of the Refrigerator Mother has been scientifically disregarded
Fact number 2 – Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder. Developmental in that it develops in the brain and can take a few years to fully develop.
Fact number 3 – Although the full cause has yet to be determined, autism is recognised to be caused by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors. The environmental factors have yet to be determined. However you only need to observe the studies of twins to see the obvious genetic link.
Fact number 4 – Experts assert the recent rise of autism to be the widening of the definition of autistic spectrum disorders and not anything else (and i was just recently at a meeting with an international expert of autism who asserted to this fact)
So Tony Humphreys is getting his information from the fact that people who are engineers, computer scientists, scientist in general are the most likely to have children diagnosed with an ASD. And this people just obviously don’t give as much love... so they have children with autism,..what tripe. Yes – this group of people have been recognised to be linked with children with autism. However, this has been linked to the genetic factor of autism. People diagnosed with an ASD are generally more likely to go into the engineering, scientific industry due to the fact that they evidently excel in these fields. Therefore, they- due to the genetic nature of autism are more like to have children on the spectrum- FACT.
And on a personal note, i am obviously a sibling of a brother with autism and my Mother is one of the most loving affectionate people on the planet. I work within the field of autism with families and it still continually amazes me how far the Mothers i see on a regular basis will go for their children- they will literally move the world for their child. So Tony Humphreys, I’m sure that you came into this field to help people so maybe you could do the decent thing and use you role to research relevant evidence about autism and concentrate on helping families instead of selling your books.