Education minister Lord Filkin has said the government will
investigate allegations that parents of children with
Asperger’s syndrome are being falsely accused of abuse
because social workers do not understand the condition.
Director of the Autism Research Unit at Sunderland University
Paul Shattock said the problem had existed for “a very long
time” but was only just starting to be debated.
“What you have is a lot of social workers who have been
very over-zealous in their search to identify abuse because they
have been trained in the Munchausen’s Syndrome By Proxy
theory and the symptoms of Asperger’s could easily be
misinterpreted as MSBP.”
He added: “Professionals have become over sensitized to
the problem and social workers have only a quarter of the training
needed to know about Asperger’s.”
A spokesperson for the National Autistic Society said it was
also aware of parents having problems and was concerned there was
limited professional understanding of autism spectrum
The society said proposals on information sharing in the
children bill could increase the risk of autism-related behaviour
being misinterpreted as symptoms of child abuse.
“We are concerned that where a child has an undiagnosed
ASD, the signs that should trigger diagnosis of this condition may
be mistaken for abuse and marked on their records as such,”
said policy and campaigns officer for children Amanda Batten.