Unbalanced and ill-informed comments on autism are hurtful and unhelpful – Harris
Posted February 7th, 2012 in Disability, Special Needs
Fine Gael TD for Wicklow, Simon Harris, has today (Tuesday) called on those with an interest in and expertise on autism to harness their energy towards the huge body of work which needs to be done in this area, rather than making unhelpful and sensational comments in the media.
“I was shocked to read a recent article in the national media where a health care professional was purporting that autism could be brought about due to the behaviour of parents and carers around children. This is an out-dated and ludicrous theory which is extremely offensive to parents of children with autism.
“These hurtful and ill-informed comments do nothing to help families living with autism. In fact, they undermine the excellent work which so many families, medical professionals and advocacy groups have worked to progress in recent years. The parents of autistic children have worked extremely hard to put support structures in place for their children, which has been an uphill battle for many years.
“Now, during a time when resources are scarce, any sort of suggestions that autistic children don’t require resources and support is extremely unhelpful. There is so much work to be done in the area of autism and in the area of disability as a whole. Many challenges remain for Government and society in terms of meeting the needs of autistic children, be they in the area of education, health, social welfare, employment opportunities etc.
“These are the issues that I am determined to contribute to and I know anyone with a sincere interest in autism will put their time, attention and energy into achieving these goals. This Thursday, the Dáil will be discussing disability issues and I look forward to playing my part in this important discussion.”