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  1. #111
    ppcoyle ppcoyle is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schuhart View Post
    But, sure, can't we dismiss vast amounts of material on the same basis - we end up unable to make any statements. Also, do this mean we can dismiss all of the anecdotes recounted on this thread - where people draw on personal experience, or experience of relatives and the like? Is 'I'm mad as hell because my sister is a good mother' a valid, peer-reviewed rebuttal?In fairness, and I clearly haven't read the book - I'm simply drawing attention to the fact that Humphries article isn't just an unreferenced rant - I wouldn't expect an article in a daily paper to have more behind it than he gave it - stating, for example, the title of that book with the comment that it was the product of much research.

    I think its also fair to point out that peer review just establishes that research was pursued in a valid manner. It doesn't mean that studies will not come to radically different conclusions - nor should it. That's the worry I frankly have here. I don't like it when views are attacked just because people find them uncomfortable.Grand, I don't know squat about the topic and just google that up from the name of the main author of the book he cites.But, sure, they have published comments in response. However, none of the comments I've read deal with his points - they just say he's a very bad man for saying these nasty things.

    Now, that's grand if the purpose of the responses is just to preach to the converted. But if they want to convince impartial and unengaged observers that the views expressed are obviously wrong, they don't cut the mustard.
    Humphries fundamentally ignores genetic influences and holds environmental (parenting mainly) factors to blame for the behavioural manifestation of ASD in children.

    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.
    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.

    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

    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.
    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.

    Shameful and shame on The Examiner for allowing such an unscientific opinion piece to be published.
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  2. #112
    Blucher Blucher is offline
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    Humphrie getting roasted on LiveLine.

    Is he a "Professor"?

    Is he fit to lecture?

    Are his students heads being filled with nonsense?
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  3. #113
    Schuhart Schuhart is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by still-life View Post
    I think that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and given the state-of-the-art, these are extraordinary claims.
    Maybe they are, but that's not evident from the context. The “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” is a phrase normally applied in the context of the paranormal. No appeal to the paranormal is being invoked.

    I stress I’m making no judgment, one way or the other, about whether the article makes sense. But I’d guess that there’s discussion in many different areas about the extent to which some particular phenomenon is due to genes or environment.
    Quote Originally Posted by still-life View Post
    I agree, it's simply not good enough for the Examiner to publish angry comments from readers - at the very least, they should solicit an article from at least one recognised authority on the subject, to put Humphrys' views into a proper context. (Ideally, they should have done that in the first place).
    I don’t see the need for them to do it ‘in the first place’. That’s putting too much weight on this one issue – its as if some higher authority needs to be consulted anytime anyone writes about autism, which is a contention I’d find strange. But, yes, if there’s controversy now it would be good for them to commission a response. It would be even better if the response calmly dealt with the matter. If its incontestable that environment is irrelevant, then it should surely be possible to write an article that sets that out.
    Quote Originally Posted by ppcoyle View Post
    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.
    I'll give it a twist. I found it here:
    http://www.brewright.com/Teaching/Scarr%20McCartney.pdf
    Quote Originally Posted by Blucher View Post
    Humphrie getting roasted on LiveLine.
    Grand, lots of reasoned discussion, I expect.
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  4. #114
    still-life still-life is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schuhart View Post
    Grand, lots of reasoned discussion, I expect.
    Actually there was - Sami Timimi (the reference for the original article) was on, and was quick to completely dis-associate himself from Humphrys. He clearly stated that he did not favour the "refrigerator mother " theory, and said that the interpretation was a "million miles" from his intention.

    Prof Louise Gallagher from TCD was also on. Also unequivocal in her disbelief in the "refrigerator mother".


    I have no problem with people discussing autism - but this is different. I think a good analogy might be how people would feel about an article that stated that Australian Aborigines weren't fit to be parents - a widely held belief at one time in some quarters, but since discredited. It's simply offensive on both a personal and intellectual level, and no editor would consider publishing it.
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  5. #115
    ppcoyle ppcoyle is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schuhart View Post

    I stress I’m making no judgment, one way or the other, about whether the article makes sense. But I’d guess that there’s discussion in many different areas about the extent to which some particular phenomenon is due to genes or environment. I don’t see the need for them to do it ‘in the first place’. That’s putting too much weight on this one issue – its as if some higher authority needs to be consulted anytime anyone writes about autism, which is a contention I’d find strange. But, yes, if there’s controversy now it would be good for them to commission a response. It would be even better if the response calmly dealt with the matter. If its incontestable that environment is irrelevant, then it should surely be possible to write an article that sets that out.I'll give it a twist. I found it here:
    http://www.brewright.com/Teaching/Scarr%20McCartney.pdf
    Grand, lots of reasoned discussion, I expect.
    Thanks for putting up the link to the Scarr and McCartney paper.

    I have just finished listening to the discussion on Joe Duffy's Liveline from the RTE website. It was a very reasoned and informative discussion between Dr. Sami Tamimi and a child/adolescent psychiatrist from TCD. Listen from about time 20 mins on http://dynamic.rte.ie/quickaxs/209-r1-liveline.smil]RT.ie

    Dr. Tamimi totally refutes what Humphries attributes to Dr. Tamimi in the offending article in the Examiner, even though he takes issue with the DSM approach to the classification as ASD as a syndrome.
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  6. #116
    Hillbilly Hillbilly is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by still-life View Post
    To clarify - I never meant any disrespect to the profession of Clinical Psychology - I simply wanted to illustrate, based on my own experience, that a proper diagnosis wasn't easily come by and that I considered it unlikely that people could fake their way to a DCA. If the omission of a CP role caused offence, I apologise.

    Apart from that I think we're broadly in agreement:

    Humphrys' article was disgraceful.

    Diagnosis of ASD is a specialist activity carried out in a professional manner (mostly).

    The criteria for a diagnosis haven't changed appreciably in recent years (although I take your point that an MDT may be more likely to actually make the diagnosis).



    I'd be interested in your view as someone professionally involved as to whether there is actually an underlying increase in the incidence of ASD etc, or whether the increase is due mainly to better detection? Personally, I used to find it hard to disbelieve the "epidemic" - but have come over time to think that it's mostly, if not completely, due to improved detection.
    No problem. Most people, who haven't had to access services, don't know that the profession exists and regard "Psychologist" as a catch all.
    I have a view that the increase in ASD is due to a combination of factors I mentioned earlier, better diagnostic procedures, greater willingness to diagnose and somewhat increased understanding of the presentations associated with autism. I think parental pressure groups have also had an impact, in that services place diagnostic assessments higher on their priority list than they once did. The various court rulings that have placed an onus on the state to create specialist services have also played a role.
    Having said all that, many Specialist Teams find themselves without a Clinical Psychologist, or another professional necessary for the diagnosis and the responsibility then falls on CDT's or borrowing someone for a diagnosis. Follow up interventions are also effected by the diagnostic priority.
    The biggest problem, unwittingly created by a diagnosis of ASD in the absence of an intellectual disability, is the complete lack of service provision once the person reaches 18 years old and slips out from the CDT umbrella. Some adult services, in conjunction with primary care units, are moving in the direction of creating ad hoc supports, but this is in it's infancy and not strictly within their remit. I imagine, as the resource belt continues to tighten, this will become more difficult as the onus these days appears to be reactive rather than preventative.
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  7. #117
    ppcoyle ppcoyle is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by still-life View Post
    As you say, Humphrys is entitled to his opinion, but I would have expected the editor of the Examiner to have presented a balancing counter view given that the opinions Humphrys expressed are decidedly not mainstream, and were likely to cause offence.
    The Liveline interview with Dr. Tamimi exposed one of the false premises in the Humphries article.

    With respect to the second question he raised about ASD, namely

    …… one: assuming that autism is a scientific fact ………….……………………………………………………….. and, the latter concept (ASD), which is being used in an alarmingly and rapidly increasing way, is an attempt to explain children's more moderate emotional and social difficulties.
    the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has been working on the 5th revision of its Diagnostic and Statistics Manual. Home | APA DSM-5 for a number of years and it will be published in 2013.

    With respect to ASD the APA, in collaboration with the WHO, NIH, and the M.I.N.D. Institute at the University of California, Davis, held a diagnosis-related research planning conference focusing on autism and other pervasive developmental disorders at the M.I. N.D. Institute in Sacramento California, on February 3-5, 2008.
    Autism and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders Conference (February 3-5, 2008) | APA DSM-5 . The work of this group played a major role in the ASD proposals for inclusion in DSM 5.

    After Work Groups finalised their draft diagnostic criteria, the next phase of DSM-5 development was focused on implementation of field trials, which began in 2010. The overall aim of the DSM-5 Field Trials is to assess the feasibility, clinical utility, reliability, and (where possible) the validity of the draft criteria and the diagnostic-specific and cross-cutting dimensional measures being suggested for DSM-5. Based in part on feedback received from visitors to the Web site, work groups revised their draft criteria and, along with the DSM-5 Research Group, selected which diagnostic criteria sets were most in need of field testing.

    The list of field trials includes ASD http://www.dsm5.org/Research/Documen...2004072011.pdf

    The Humphries approach is grounded in psychobabble and anecdotes. The approach being taken in revising DSM, and with respect to the WHO’s ICD 10, is based on much more than the anecdotal ‘in my practice approach’ of Humphries towards ASD in the Examiner article.

    For those who are interested in what ASD encompasses have a look at http://www.dsm5.org/proposedrevision...on.aspx?rid=94
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  8. #118
    Hewson Hewson is online now
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    My son was diagnosed with mild Asberger's Syndrome when he was five. The symptoms were repititive obsessive behaviour and an inability (or unwillingness) to establish relationships with his peers. His primary schooldays were very difficult, with bullying and teasing an almost everyday occurrence. We moved him to a non-denominational project school where he flourished. Because he was on the mild side of the spectrum many of his peculiar childhood habits faded away as he grew up. His mother devoted her time and energy into ensuring that he gained self-confidence in a cold world and was always there for him, regardless of how large or small the problems he encountered.

    Academically he was excellent and went on to get a science degree in college. He now works for one of the world's top technology companies and has been promoted four times in his two years there.

    What Humphries wrote in his Examiner article is unadulterated garbage and an insult to every parent of an autistic or Asberger child who has made personal sacrifices in terms of time and effort, or who has simply followed their natural parental instinct and given their love. The gaps in his knowledge far outweigh whatever it is that he does know and it would be in his own interests, personally and academically, to do more in-depth, one-to-one study of his subject before burying his credibility up dark alleys.
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  9. #119
    ppcoyle ppcoyle is offline

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    There was an interesting article in today’s Irish Times, by a clinical psychologist, on the treatment of autism using psychoanalysis by French psychoanalysts French film ban raises autism issue - The Irish Times - Thu, Feb 09, 2012
    the views of all of those interviewed are consistent with the psychoanalytic model that sees autism as being caused by a distorted relationship between the affected child and the mother. There is no objective evidence to support this viewpoint.
    It deals with a recent documentary called The Wall about the French approach to treating autism. "The wall ; psychoanalysis put to the test for autism" by Sophie Robert - YouTube The documentary follows two autistic boys: Guillaume, who has been treated with the behavioural, or “American,” approach; and Julien, who has been kept in an asylum for six years and treated with psychoanalysis. Guillaume, though challenged, is functioning at a high level in school. Julien is essentially silent, locked out of society.

    Even though the documentary can be criticised on the basis of the using anecdotal evidence to critique the French approach to autism, the New York Times has a very interesting article on the contents of the documentary and the effectiveness of different approaches to the treatment of autism http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/20/he...pagewanted=all. The article includes links to research on the aetiology and treatment of autism.

    the Council of Europe found in 2004 that France had failed to fulfill its educational obligations to children with autism, and, according to Le Monde, only about one-quarter of children with the disorder attend school in France, compared with three-quarters in Britain.
    Autism Europe took the case to the Council of Europe in 2003, and the Council decided that France was found to have failed to fulfil its educational obligations to persons with autism under the European Social Charter.

    Finally Dr Brian Hughes, a lecturer in Psychology at the National University of Ireland Galway, has a very good critique of the logical fallacies in the Humphreys' article in the Examiner at his blog How to argue illogically: Tony’s ten top tips | The Science Bit

    In fact, seldom have I seen so many logical fallacies crammed into such a brief piece. It really is an excellent teaching tool, and I highly recommend it to teachers of critical reasoning, logic, epistemology, clinical decision-making, and scientific communication
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  10. #120
    Blucher Blucher is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schuhart View Post
    Grand, lots of reasoned discussion, I expect.
    It was as it happens.
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