Is Cambridge University Professor Simon Baron-Cohen's latest "autism research" useless? Autism Eye reports that Autism Eye magazine editor Gillian Loughran "has been inundated with phone calls from parents expressing their annoyance at what they see as the latest trivia to emerge from Cambridge."
The impugned research examined the professions of parents of autistic children to look at whether parents with professional background as engineers, scientists and computer programmers were more likely to have autistic children.
Loughran pulls no punches in her comments on the value of the research:
“I could fill Cambridge University with parents of children with autism who are not working in any of the fields he mentions, but whose children went on to develop the condition.”
“Some children with autism are in pain and discomfort from gut issues and a considerable number of children with autism face exclusion from their school,” she said. “It’s far more important to study their health and educational problems than the history of their parents’ dating arrangements.”
Parents of children with autism despair at the number of academics who raise their profiles and sell more of their books while failing to conduct research that has the real potential to help these children.”
It is refreshing to see parents in the UK speaking out and demanding that we focus on meaningful autism research efforts that help autistic children rather than promote careers and sell books.
It is a message that should be heard loud and clear in Canada, the US and elsewhere in the "autism world".