I wrote at least a couple of years ago to the bmj.com on precisely
During the seventies when my own interest in this once very rare
disorder began to emerge, if I told people about this interest they
usually thought I was saying `artistic` as `autistic` was unheard of.
As Hilary Butler says, the incidence was SO low that the behaviours
we now see in front of us in every classroom - the BEHAVIOURS Camille,
not the DIAGNOSES - were confined to very few children who invariably
were found alternative schools as they could not be taught and managed
in the school system.
As the epidemic of autistic BEHAVIOURS has risen dramatically in the
last few years, the system has introduced various measures and sleights
of hand to make us all think that these BEHAVIOURS were all there before
but not seen. INCLUSION policies put pressure on everyone including
EDUCATIONAL TRIBUNAL PANELS to ensure these BEHAVIOURS are not viewed as
autism but MISINTERPRETED as something else - anything else but not
autism given the legal challenge/iatrogenic issue - and increasingly
seen to be the fault of the parents. Independent professionals such as
myself are targeted.
Teaching hospitals are removing diagnoses and reinterpreting the
BEHAVIOURS which now have teachers and assistants on their knees trying
to cope yet forced into saying they can cope - especially in Educational
Tried and tested intensive methods and facilities which used to be in
place when the numbers of autistic children were manageable are now
being removed from schools with staff forced into introducing wholly
ineffective `BEHAVIOURAL` policies with `the child must take
responsiblity for his own BEHAVIOUR` at their pivot. This is because the
numbers of children with autistic BEHAVIOUR problems has sky rocketed,
so its cheaper and easier to blame the child or the parent to limit the
resource costs. It also conveniently shifts the focus of the real
The system has polished up its methods for focusing on parents who
are blamed for causing their children's disorders, but it dare not
introduce the methods to help the children as this is not only expensive
but tantamount to admitting what it refuses to accept - that there is an
epidemic of autistic spectrum disorders and that there must be an
Focused, intensive but costly interventions delivered by specialists
are being replaced by general `programmes` drawn out of the cascade
model after someone attends a one day seminar then passes on information
on a photocopied sheet to be delivered by classroom assistants on the
lowest hourly rate of pay.
The whole thing is a massive, massive scandal.
Competing interests: Expert in Autism