The National Autism Association is having Dr Andrew Wakefield speak at their forthcoming conference about his new book which is to be released in the spring. While it is not unusual for the NAA to support Dr Wakefield’s work, I was surprised to learn that his proposed talk will be on the subject of the Autism and Munchausen by Proxy (MSBP). Dr Wakefield writes:
“Hoping for Perpetual Sunshine
This presentation is the subject of a new book coming out the spring of 2012. It deals with the hazards of pursuing a diagnosis of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP) in children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), particularly those with gastrointestinal (GI) disease and/or dysfunction. Specifically, it reviews the symptomatic presentation of GI disorders and, the frequency and nature of GI disease in affected children. It discusses the history of MSBP and briefly reviews alleged cases involving “factitious” GI symptoms. The main part of the talk will describe the experience of one family, deconstructing the evidence against the parents and their alleged fabrication of their children’s health issues, in order to identify not only the shortcomings of the diagnosis itself, but also the systematic problems that arise out of institutionalized ignorance. Deficiencies on the part of Social Services, Child Protective Services, the judiciary, and the medical profession, are identified and analyzed in respect of the published science on the presentation, pathogenesis, and treatment of autism”.
This is brilliant news for all the falsely accused parents with autistic children because now instead of one excellent and well known professional speaking on their behalf there will be two, both of whom will be singing from the same hymn sheet. It is also exciting news that Dr Wakefield has written a book on the subject of MSBP and I look forward with interest to reading about his case in Arizona and his take on the subject. It is about time that another professional was brave enough to speak out about parents of autistic children being falsely accused of MSBP.
Lisa Blakemore-Brown was the first professional to speak openly on this subject in 1995 and has been an expert witness in many court cases worldwide ever since. Blakemore-Brown had become increasingly concerned that parents were been falsely accused of abusing their child as soon as they mentioned the fact that vaccines may have been at the route of their child’s problems. It was her belief that this was even more likely to happen if the child in question displayed signs of autism.
Many professionals now speak openly on the subject of vaccines causing parents to be accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome; however, very few speak out about MSBP. To have another expert of such a high standing as Dr Andrew Wakefield speaking on the behalf of parents falsely accused of MSBP can only be of benefit to both parents and professionals alike.
Blakemore-Brown is and always has been the most prominent professional to date speaking on these issues. I have decided to draw up a time – line of her work, to emphasize the vast enormity of the work undertaken by this professional and in doing so I can also demonstrate her vast knowledge and expertise surrounding the MSBP issues.
Lisa Blakemore-Brown first became concerned that parents were being falsely accused of MSBP when she and Professor David Southall, were both witnesses in a court case involving twin girls. Southall had stated that the mother of the twins was suffering from MSBP and the twins had nothing wrong with them, however, after assessing the twins, Blakemore-Brown found them to be suffering from various disabilities including ADHD.
In March 1997 a documentary was made about the case involving the twins, in New Zealand, featuring Lisa Blakemore-Brown. The documentary was entitled the 20/20 documentary.
In September 1997 Lisa Blakemore-Brown wrote a letter to the British Psychological Society expressing her concerns that families were being falsely accused of MSBP. This letter was later published in the ‘Psychologist’, a BPS magazine.
In June 1998 an article appeared in ‘The Therapist’ written by Lisa Blakemore-Brown. This was a year after Sir Roy Meadow had himself written an article for ‘The Therapist’ on the subject of MSBP. Blakemore-Brown had been asked by the editor of ‘The Therapist’ to write an article offering readers a different view of MSBP to start a debate.
In September 1998 Stephen Breen wrote an article for ‘The Scotsman’, stating that Lisa Blakemore-Brown was convinced that in at least 3 cases that she was aware of, parents had been falsely accused of MSBP. She was so concerned that she had complained to the General Medical Council and the Department of Health. Breen had also said that Blakemore-Brown had asked for a ‘public inquiry’ concerning these issues.
In early 2000 Blakemore-Brown launched her book ‘Reweaving the Autistic Tapestry’, in which she featured the case of a young girl which she named Lorelei. Lorelei had reacted to the pertussis vaccine which the hospital had recorded in her medical records. The little girl went on to develop ‘Kawasaki Syndrome’. (KWS has been attributed to vaccine damage by many renowned professionals including Dr Michael Innis.) The child had been referred to Ms Blakemore-Brown to be assessed because she had also developed Asperger’s Syndrome.
In 2001 Lisa Blakemore-Brown gave a lecture on MSBP at the University of Durham. She entitled her speech ‘The Autistic Odyssey’. The speech was about autism, the MMR vaccine and false accusations of MSBP. She opened her speech by saying:
“Having a child with autism is a devastating experience. When, rightly or wrongly, parents suspect that it could have been avoided (by not using the combined MMR vaccine for example) the effects are compounded. To be blamed for their problems, to have your children removed from your home with only very occasional visits permitted is unacceptable. To jail parents who are attempting to protect their children is sickening.”
In February 2002
In February 2002 Lisa Blakemore-Brown wrote two articles on MSBP in ‘Adoption Today’. ‘Adoption Today’, is a journal designed for parents caring for either adopted or fostered children and professionals working in child protection. Blakemore-Brown had noticed that parents of adopted children could also become targets of false accusations of MSBP.
Around this time Blakemore-Brown also wrote a letter to Jackie Smith MP the then Health Secretary outlining her fears.
In December 2002
In December 2002 Lisa Blakemore-Brown was filmed assessing a child for the BBC Documentary ‘My Family and Autism’. The documentary outlined the difficulties that a mother with six children, three of whom had autism, faced on a daily basis.
In January 2004
In January 2004 Jamie Doward wrote a piece in the Observer entitled ‘Ministers Told Child Harm Theory was Flawed’ The article heavily featuring Lisa Blakemore-Brown and received front page coverage. The article was questioning whether serious errors were being made in the justice system, saying that Ministers had been warned that the controversial scientific theory Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP) was responsible for serious miscarriages of justice as far back as 1996.
In February 2004
In February 2004 Lisa Blakemore-Brown was one of many speakers asked to speak at a conference in Sydney Australia. The conference was the 1st International conference to challenge issues surrounding the diagnosis of MSBP and SBS.
On December 1st 2004 Lisa Blakemore-Brown was involved in writing ‘Taking the Stick Away: A Service Users Joint Statement’ with other top professionals in the anticipation of the release of the Green Paper on ‘Children at Risk’ entitled ‘Every Child Matters’.
And on December 2ndLisa Blakemore-Brown gave a speech at House of Lords on MSBP entitled ‘MSBP- A Pseudo Scientific Trap’.
In May 2005 Lisa Blakemore-Brown was featured in an article in the ‘Private Eye’ involving a case of MSBP and false accusations. The article was entitled ‘Asperger Syndrome – Anti Social Services’.
In July 2005 Lisa Blakemore-Brown was involved in the writing of the ‘Consensus Paper’ which was a powerful document outlining faults in the system when examining MSBP. This was entitled ‘Misdirection of Social Policy’.
16th March 2007
In March 2007 Lisa Blakemore-Brown was featured in the ‘Spectator’ in an article entitled ‘What Killed Sally Clark’s Child’. Mrs. Clark had two children die shortly after a vaccine. One child Harry died just five hours after his DPT.
28th Feb 2009
In Feb 2009 Lisa Blakemore-Brown spoke at the ‘Convention of Modern Liberty’ where she spoke out for the rights of children with autism.
20th May 2009
Later the same year Lisa Blakemore-Brown spoke at the ‘Autism Rally’ in London.
For full details of all of her work and the above papers and documents go to http://www.profitableharm.com/lisa_blakemore-brown.html
Since 2009 Lisa Blakemore-Brown has made several comments to newspapers online and written several articles for One Click News surrounding these issues.
For the purpose of this article I have decided to highlight one of the two papers that Ms Blakemore-Brown in wrote for ‘Adoption Today’ in 2002. These were specific papers written for the adoption journal ‘Adoption Today’ that have never before been seen on the Internet. Her first paper was entitled ‘Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy’ where Ms Blakemore-Brown explained the syndrome relating to adoptive parents adopting children with ASD and ADHD and the second paper also entitled ‘Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy’ was published in the same journal as a continuation of her first paper where she highlighted one case (mine) as an example.
The first paper is one of the few papers Blakemore-Brown has written purely on Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, she wrote:
“My experience suggests that the presentation of a number of disorders and reactions to medication is being mistaken for abuse. Parents, usually the child’s mother, are then investigated and judged by the profile, which can easily be manipulated to fit whatever case the investigator wishes to make. Within the bounds of the profile’s criteria, normal situations and reasonable behaviors can be viewed with suspicion; the criteria can be ignored when they do not apply. One of the criteria for MSBP type abuse is that a child’s illness or disorder disappears or the child “improves” after removal from the alleged abuser. Where babyhood illnesses and delayed development are involved, one would naturally expect improvement over time (Morley 1995), but this very improvement may be taken as proof of abuse.”
Blakemore-Brown later states the following:
“The MSBP label is a dangerous one, encouraging a suspicious view of caring mothers. It destroys trust between professionals and families, and creates a climate of fear and and confusion. Workers may be rendered silent for fear they may of “missed something” – a fear that leads some to ignore the child’s problems and turn their backs on the family, leaving them to be dealt with by those who claim expert knowledge of MSBP.”
The points that Blakemore-Brown has made in this paper and many others are worrying and we need to ask the question why this is still happening to parents worldwide today?
Clearly mistakes are still occurring or Dr Wakefield would not have now also taken up this serious and complex issue. It appears from my research that Wakefield has also been working with a family who have had five children with autism removed through false accusations of MSBP. According to one rather scathing report on a recent conference that Wakefield took part in, he has said that he feels the accusations of MSBP is part of a conspiracy theory. http://sharon-theawfultruth.blogspot.com/2011_05_01_archive.html
As I have not heard Dr Wakefield speak on the subject of MSBP and his new book is not yet in print, I can make no comment on what he is saying, however it does appear chillingly similar to what Blakemore-Brown has been saying for years. It is also, I feel, more than just a mere coincidence that both professionals are involved with vaccine damaged children who have autism as part of their overall diagnosis. Both of these professionals have come to similar conclusions after coming from very different professions and career paths, I feel it would be wise to have an open mind and study what they saying in a little more detail before dismissing their theories.
As a parent who has two autistic sons, one of which also suffers from IBD and a falsely accused parent, I am beginning to look to the future with renewed optimism. My hope is that one day these two brilliant and talented professionals get together and write a joint paper on the subject of Munchausen’s by Proxy, which could be used as a benchmark for doctors, professionals and child protection teams worldwide who are dealing with children who have autism today.