Thursday, April 26, 2007

Questioning the News

Home tutors 'help autistic young'
Home tutoring lifts IQ of autistic children

Prof. Bob Remington, said:

"This form of teaching can, in many cases, lead to major change."

Well, DUH! Isn't that obvious? Who wouldn't benefit from one-to-one home education?! Putting children in noisy environments, surrounded by large numbers of unfriendly or uncaring 'others', you know, like in schools, for example, and what happens? Their whole energy will be wasted in trying to cope with the stresses arising from such hostile conditions. There will be no room left for learning.

Children "who are anxious, angry, or depressed don’t learn" - they don't "take in information efficiently or deal with it well... When emotionally upset, people cannot remember, attend, learn, or make decisions clearly. As one management consultant put it, “Stress makes people stupid.” [Coleman, Emotional Intelligence]

Back to the news, "The researchers, from Southampton University, also found parents rose to the challenge of the intensive course." DUH! Parents LOVE their children and would do anything for them. I find it very worrying indeed that our so-called experts are treating this as a 'find' - I mean, why would they think otherwise? Why is there still a cultural tendency to think negatively of parents, and to blame mothers? Where does that come from and why do so many 'professionals' seem to unquestioningly share such attitude?

"Mother-blame is not a new phenomenon. In the 1940s and 50s, mothers were held responsible for autism (McDonnell 1998), schizophrenia, the emotional breakdowns of young soldiers, and homosexuality (Terry 1998; Thurer 1993). In the 1960s, mothers were held responsible for the rebelliousness of youth – for their political protests, drug usage, sexual activity, and fondness for rock'n'roll. A study of 1970, 1976, and 1982 clinical psychology journals found that “mothers were blamed for seventy-two different kinds of problems in their offspring, ranging from bed-wetting to schizophrenia, from inability to deal with colour blindness to aggressive behaviour, from learning problems to ‘homicidal transsexualism’” (Caplan 1998: 135). Mothers are blamed for children’s poor school performance, low self-esteem, and poverty. Today, children’s problems – or children as problems – are often linked to the social situations of their mothers – poor mothers, unmarried mothers, divorced mothers, employed mothers, and so forth (Arendell forthcoming; Garey 1999: 29-41; Smith 1987: 167-75, 1999)." [as seen here]

And when it comes to Autistic Spectrum Disorders?

"In the 1940s, Dr. Leo Kanner invented the idea of blaming mothers for their children's autism. It became known as the "refrigerator mother" theory. The problem with Kanner's theory is that he had no evidence at all to back it up. It was a guess on his part that fit in neatly with orthodox psychiatric beliefs of the time. Bruno Bettelheim popularized this idea in the United States in the 50s and 60s.

Dr. Bernard Rimland, a parent of a son who has autism, skewered the "refrigerator mother" theory as early as 1964. Eventually, in the 1970s Kanner himself rejected this idea. And Bettelheim was shown to be a con man who had no medical or psychiatric training and abused the children under his care.

Unfortunately, during the 30 or so years when medical science pretended to know what caused autism almost no research was done on the disease. And several generations of parents who trusted the medical experts of the time spent their lives needlessly blaming themselves for their children's illness. Ideas, even factually wrong ideas, don't die easily. And this idea still creeps out of hiding occasionally."

Do you still believe in "experts"? DUH! WAKE UP!

Today's Links
Inclusion doesn't have to start at school
Myths and misperceptions about school bullying
Home education: Council lobbies for better monitoring
Are schools concentration campuses for mind destruction?


Gill said...

Brilliant post. And the point about blaming mothers is a fascinating one, to me. I didn't realise it was quite so widespread or well-entrenched.

Tibetan Star said...

They also blame mothers for anorexia and if their children end up being sexually abuse.

And then there's also the creepy horror stories of Munchausen Syndrome by proxy, which I must find out more about...