Understanding autism
Understanding autism

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Understanding autism

3.2 Parental blame: fighting back

Here are two more pioneering parents: Lorna Wing, who became a leading autism expert, followed by Hannelore Braunsberg. These days, Hannelore’s son David, who appears in the clip, is a talented artist. Both these parents contested the stigmatising explanation for their children’s condition.

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No one knew what caused autism. But parents were blamed by Freudian psychiatrists who believed that what they termed, "refrigerator mothers" had made their children cold and disturbed.
This was absolutely devastating for the parents. They were terribly worried about their children. They wanted to know what was wrong, what they could do to help. And instead of being given comfort and helpful advice, they were blamed for their children's problems.
We were told that it's the parents and the parents are cold and that parents were blamed. And you know, at that time, that was sort the sort of fashionable view, that, you know, it was your fault.
I did exactly the same with David as with my daughter. And she was the most normal child all the way through and the most level-headed child. And I never had any problems with her. So I thought, you know, it just can't be me, because what did I do different? I didn't do-- if anything, David got more spoiled being the younger one. So I didn't think that was a reason really.
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