Humphreys’ views are discredited

I was astounded at the controversy which Tony Humphreys has caused by his article on autism (Feelgood, Feb 3).

It is hardly credible that a modern-day practising psychologist would entertain such old-fashioned ideas.

Autism and ASD have moved into the 21st century with clinical research, studies and science providing much information about this disorder. The unfounded old-fashioned idea that parents of children with ASD were to blame for their child’s condition because they were emotionally cold and unresponsive to their child has been discredited for many years so I cannot imagine what Humphreys was thinking when he wrote that article — and upsetting so many parents in the process. Why would one do such a foolish thing? I cannot imagine he has done himself any favours in the autistic community, judging by their response.

He should do some more real research before he expounds these old fashioned, unfounded views, which have been totally discredited.

Also, the Irish Examiner’s view that he is entitled to his opinion is flawed in the current context. He was obviously paid to write this article — he was not someone who sent in a unsolicited letter to the editor with these views. The newspaper should have verified the contents. So the newspaper must accept responsibility for the distress caused.

There are other “pop” psychologists who consistently appear in the media and put forth views about children’s behavioural problems and despite anyone with half a brain being able to see that many of the children have problems like ADHD or dyspraxia and so on, they talk constantly about behaviour and how parents need to address the child’s behaviour — as if one could separate the condition from the behaviour. These pop psychologists are not helping families at all. Families need to be very careful who they take advice from regarding their children.

Mary Farrell

B.Phil. Autism Uni. of Birmingham

Enfield

Co Meath

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