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.
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, Unstoppable Brilliance: Irish Geniuses and Asperger's Syndrome and Autism and Creativity, Is there a link between autism in men and exceptional ability?
Fitzgerald speculated the following were autistic in The Genesis of Artistic Creativity:
- Writers – Hans Christian Andersen, Lewis Carroll, Bruce Chatwin, Arthur Conan Doyle, Herman Melville, George Orwell, Jonathan Swift and William Butler Yeats.
- Philosophers – A.J. Ayer, Baruch de Spinoza, Immanuel Kant and Simone Weil.
- Musicians – Bela Bartok, Ludwig van Beethoven, Bob Dylan, Glenn Gould, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Erik Satie.
- Painters – Vincent van Gogh, L.S. Lowry, Jack B. Yeats and Andy Warhol.
Dr. Houston, clearly enamored with Professor Fitzgerald's historical speculation, also shares Dr. Mike Fitzpatrick's demeaning characterization of parents facing autism reality who take a biomedical approach to their children's autism. He promotes Fitzpatrick'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”.
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 by some neurodiversity advocates.
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. Dr. Mike Fitzpatrick, himself the parent of an autistic child, has the incredible arrogance to to demean and dismiss parents who fight for their children, who struggle to care for them every day. He speculates, with no solid evidence, that parents efforts to help their own children has a corrosive impact on autistic people. Describing our children's realities as we see them every day is actually harmful? Meanwhile Professor Fitzgerald sits in the library imagining that Darwin had Aspergers. Dr. Muiris and the Irish Times embrace both of their evidence bare theories while dismissing the daily observations of parents from around around the world.
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 described 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!
Ev'rything is upsy daysy!
Ev'ryone is acting crazy
Dross is gold and weeds are a bouquet
That's the way on Topsy Turvy Day