The autism controversy continues

Following on from my previous blog. The autism controvesy is still continuing. I got to listen to an hour of Joe Duffys Liveline programme today which you can listen to here.

Dr Sami Timimi was on the phone. The Tony Humphrey’s article was based on a book by Dr. Timimi. Although it appears it was taken out of context although Dr. Timimi was saying we shouldn’t ‘label’ our children. Which is all well and good but you need a diagnosis to get help for your child. Also in Jono’s case he was a teenager when he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, he said he answered a lot of questions for him and was a huge relief to him.

If Jono hadn’t got a diagnosis he wouldn’t be in the National Learning Network now and he really loves it there. It’s given him a huge amount of confidence.

All the article in the Irish Examiner has done is put the blame on parents (and I think a lot of parents feel they are to blame certainly in the early days of a diagnosis) and will just fuel the fire of people who don’t believe there is such a thing as autism.

Newstalk also covered the topic and this can be heard here.

Tony Humphreys has stayed silent in all this. It has also been bought to my attention that anyone can be a psychologist in Ireland. You don’t have to be registered….why is this allowed to continue? Surely there must be some guide lines?

12 thoughts on “The autism controversy continues

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  1. There are guidelines (I believe that it is a 2005 Act) requiring professional registration, but the register has not been set up yet. The PSI register acts in its place, without legal standing – Tony Humphreys is not registered with the PSI and may not meet the required standards.
    He has form in blaming the emotional environment for asthma and even symptoms of appendicitis (
    Plainly he is neither a doctor nor a psychologist and the Examiner should label his pieces as the opinion of a writer.

    1. I read on twitter about him blaming the emotional environment for asthma…I didn’t hear about appendicitus. Thanks for the link I will look into it.
      The Examiner surely should have checked up about Tony Humphreys before they printed any article by him.

  2. Thursday Examiner:

    “Parents never to blame” (only wanted to inform about current research … !)

    “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.

    “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.”

    Read more:

  3. Just wanted to comment on this bit “we shouldn’t ‘label’ our children.”

    No, we shouldn’t label our children, we should love them. However, labelling a disorder gives ownership and control back to us. We have something to research, we have something to google, we have something to bond with other people in similar situations. And just as importantly all those civil servants out there have a box to tick.

    I am sure we have all been there. When there is just “something different/wrong with your child, there are people telling you that you are making it up, exaggerating, bad parents. Having a label makes it somehow real for other people. It gives you an answer. You are still going to have people blame you (as evidenced by this Humphreys guy) but it gives you somewhere to stand when you fight back.

    Just my POV about labels 🙂 Rant temporarily subsided

    1. It’s a touchy subject the whole labeling thing, but as others on twitter were saying do people stop saying they have cancer, ms or other illnesses because it’s a label?

  4. Niamh O’Byrne on behalf of
    Thursday 09/02/12 15:06
    The Psychological Society of Ireland’s response to the Tony Humphreys article on in the Examiner

    Psychological Society of Ireland disagrees with assertions made by Tony Humphreys

    The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) does not support the assertions made by Tony Humphreys in his recent article in the ‘Feelgood’ supplement of the Irish Examiner in relation to Autism Spectrum Disorder. PSI President, Dr Michael Drumm, stated:
    “Tony Humphreys’ assertions made in the article are not supported by the vast body of research in the field of Autistic Spectrum Disorders and are unhelpful and likely to cause upset. It is hoped that the article would be retracted.”

    The Psychological Society of Ireland is the learned and professional body for psychology in the Republic of Ireland. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neuro-developmental condition that is characterized by impairment in social interaction, communication and repetitive behaviours. The condition affects one in every 100 children.


    For further information/ comment, please contact:
    Lisa Stafford,
    PSI PR & Events Manager,
    087 945 2801

  5. Yes, “I am sorry that you took offence” is the usual formula for putting the responsibility on the person who is hurt. Thin skin, over-sensitive, hysterical and all of that ****.
    They do seem to have removed the Feelgood issue from the archive. I like the suggestion that the Examiner re-edits to include a rebutting foreword from someone like the PSI, and then puts it back online for posterity. They also suggest that the Examiner stops him from using “clinical psychologist” from now on – because he plainly is not one.

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