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Topsy Turvy Irish Times Article Demeans Autism Parents, Promotes Reality Challenged Professor

Posted Feb 24 2009 9:41pm
It is Topsy Turvy Day in an Irish Times article Darwin is the origin of new thesis on Asperger's. In "Darwin" Dr. Muiris Houston promotes the latest effort by Professor Michael Fitzgerald to assign yet another historical genius, this time Charles Darwin, to his speculative list of persons with Aspergers. Dr. Houston glosses over entirely the fact that Professor Fitgerald's opinion is pure speculation, having never met Darwin who died before Asperger's was even defined as a medical condition. Nor does Dr. Houston mention Professor Fitzgerald's career of assigning many historical geniuses to his speculative Asperger's list. Parents once again are the villains in Dr. Houston's and Professor Fitzgerald's Topsy Turvy fantasy production.

Wikipedia, in People speculated to have been autistic, has a summary of Professor Fitgerald's career in historical genius autism speculation:

Michael Fitzgerald, of the Department of Child Psychiatry at Trinity College, Dublin, has speculated about historical figures with autism in numerous journal papers and at least three books: The Genesis of Artistic Creativity: Asperger's Syndrome and the Arts, [ 4 ] Unstoppable Brilliance: Irish Geniuses and Asperger's Syndrome [ 5 ] and Autism and Creativity, Is there a link between autism in men and exceptional ability? [ 6 ]

Fitzgerald speculated the following were autistic in The Genesis of Artistic Creativity:

Unstoppable Brilliance discusses Daisy Bates, Samuel Beckett, Robert Boyle, Eamon de Valera, Robert Emmet, William Rowan Hamilton, James Joyce, Padraig Pearse and W.B. Yeats.

Autism and Creativity says the following may have been autistic: Lewis Carroll, Eamon de Valera, Sir Keith Joseph, Ramanujan, Ludwig Wittgenstein and W.B. Yeats.

While Professor Fitzgerald visits history, and his imagination, to speculate about historical figures he never met, most of whom lived and died before autism and Asperger's were known to the world, parents in the real world today struggle with the real challenges of caring for, raising and preparing their autistic children for a future without them. Dr. Houston, however, clearly enamored with Professor Fitgerald's historical speculation, also shares his demeaning characterization of parents facing autism reality who take a biomedical approach to their children's autism. He promotes Professor Fitgerald's book Defining Autism – a damaging delusion:

“Parents who share the unorthodox biomedical outlook project a negative view of autism, as a destructive disease process which is sometimes described as ‘worse than cancer’.”

And he says that some parents implicitly dehumanise people with autism by describing “their own predicament in terms of grief and loss and as one of unremitting battle against the corrosive impact of autism on their child, their marital relationship and their wider family”.

Dr. Houston then goes on to point out that there is no scientific evidence, only anecdotal evidence, in support of biomedical treatments. And therein lies the rub. Dr. Houston and the Irish Times reject anecdotal evidence, direct observation by parents of their children, of real situations and people, as being unscientific. Yet, he embraces, without question, the historical speculation of Professor Fitzgerald that Darwin, and other historical geniuses, people that Professor Fitgerald never met, most of whom died before autism or Aspergers were recognized conditions, had one of these disorders.

Parents who actually care for and raise their children, who can see the realities of their children's autism spectrum disorders, and who try to help them live the fullest life possible are increasingly under attack today. Medical authorities fiercely intent on protecting vaccine programs from ANY criticism or question dismiss as hysterical parents who see their children regress after receiving vaccines. Parents who provide ABA or biomedical treatments to help their children are accused of oppressing them.

Professor Fitzgerald has built a career writing articles and books and making presentations to learned societies speculating about the possibility that people he has never met might have had either autism or Aspergers. This same professor has the incredible arrogance to to demean and dismiss the parents who actually fight for their children, who struggle to care for them every day while he sits in the library imagining that Darwin had Aspergers. Describing our children's realities as we see them every day is actually harmful to our children?

If you are the parent of a child recently diagnosed with an autism disorder welcome to the Topsy Turvy world of autism parenting. Parents know nothing and hurt their autistic children while purporting to help them. Professors who prowl the library speculating that historical figures were autistic are taken seriously while parents who observe and deal with their children's autism challenges every day know nothing. In the world of autism parenting every day is Topsy Turvy Day as describe in Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame:

Once a year we throw a party here in town
Once a year we turn all Paris upside down
Ev'ry man's a king and ev'ry king's a clown
Once again it's Topsy Turvy Day
It's the day the devil in us gets released
It's the day we mock the prig and shock the priest
Ev'rything is topsy turvy at the Feast of Fools!

Crowd:
Topsy turvy!

Clopin:
Ev'rything is upsy daysy!

Crowd:
Topsy turvy!

Clopin:
Ev'ryone is acting crazy
Dross is gold and weeds are a bouquet
That's the way on Topsy Turvy Day

 autism


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