What is very troubling about this is that it is the opinion of someone who claims to be a clinical psychologist with a Ph D or Psyc D. Maybe he is, but it is a fact that credentials are not necessarily a guarantee of valid expertise in any domain.Regretfully, the relationship contexts of the childrens' lives are not examined and their mature development is often sacrificed on the fires of the unresolved emotiuonal defences of those adults who are responsible for their care.
It is important to hold to the fact that these carers do not consciously block their children's wellbeing, but the unconscious hope of children is that other adults (teachers, relatives, educational psychologists, care workers) that when they are emotionally and socially troubled, it is their adult carers who often need more help than they do.
Psychology as a discipline within the behavioural sciences depends on hypothesis testing just as with the physical sciences. Humphries is not is the same position as other opinion writers, such as Terry Prone or Fergus Finlay, in that these two do not claim accredited expertise for their Examiner opinions. Humphries claims to be giving a professional opinion and in so doing condemns the parents of children who have been diagnosed with ASD:
- using anecdotal evidence,
a non peer reviewed reference,
and the misuse of research findings by Baron Cohen
This is no more than the approach used in psychobabble or pop psychology and it ignores research findings from a number of fields such as genetics, neuroscience, and psychometric assessment. It is unlikely that Humphries is aware of the large body of research on autism or ASD, and his approach is the antithesis of using an ‘evidence based approach’ that professional psychologists are required to use by the accreditation bodies.
The interactions between genotypes – the genetic makeup of an individual - and environments are very complex, and psychobabble of the type that Humphries puts forward, from whatever source, has no part to play in understanding these complex interactions. He generalises and ignores both genetic influences and individual differences.
On of the classical papers on genotype/environment interacts, that has stood the test of time, was published as far back as 1983 by Sandra Scarr and Kathleen McCarty (cited in 1576 papers)
How People Make Their Own Environments: A Theory of Genotype → Environment Effects Author(s): Sandra Scarr and Kathleen McCartney Source: Child Development, Vol. 54, No. 2 (Apr., 1983), pp. 424-435 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
The scientific error in Humphries’ opinion piece was to assign 100% of the cause of ASD to parenting issues. Anyone wishing to understand why I make this criticism of Humphries' opinion should read the Scarr and McCartney paper.With a rich array of opportunities, however, most differences among people arise from genetically determined differences in the experiences to which they are attracted and which they evoke from their environments.
Shameful and shame on The Examiner for allowing such an unscientific opinion piece to be published.