Thursday, November 05, 2009

Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy?!

I thought Graham Badman could go no lower in home educators' estimation, but this takes the biscuit.

At our first interview Mr Badman was interested in what I had to say. His opening question was to ask me if home educating mothers suffered from Munchhausen's by Proxy. I thought this to be a curious starting point - that of questioning whether home education is a symptom of mental illness. I am not medically qualified, but I was able to inform Mr Badman that there is no research evidence available that I am aware of, which makes this link.

This actually makes sense of the way the whole review was carried out and written up. If he was starting from that kind of basis of supposition, there was no chance of him ever doing anything good for home educators.

Let's get one thing straight, though:

Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSbP), is a disorder in which a person deliberately causes injury or illness to another person (most often their child) usually to gain attention or some other benefit. [Source]

So sufferers of this so-called syndrome (probably imaginary in itself, since its inventor was struck off the doctors' register by the General Medical Council for manipulating statistics to desperately try and prove his point in his presentation of evidence as an expert witness at Sally Clarke's trial. Remind you of anyone at all?) actively seek professional help for their children all the time, as a way of getting attention for themselves.

Home educating parents tend to do the precise opposite. Many of us avoid seeking professional help like the plague, unless it's absolutely necessary, and just want to be left in peace to bring our children up outside of the school system and to therefore enjoy our family life. Many of us have campaigned long and hard to try and hold back the incoming high tide of routine professional involvement in family life.

It's laughable (or would be, if such expert postulating hadn't led to Sally Clarke's early death and the wrongful removal of many children from their loving parents) and I'm glad to see that people on Facebook are seeing the funny side. Actually, what's funny is that Badman could get it so wrong. As Paula Rothermel said, she's not medically qualified - so why would he start effecting mass diagnoses? I'm very grateful that she shared this information with the Select Committee, and hence with the rest of us. He probably thought we'd never know.

You can see the rest of the written evidence here. Of particular interest is Tech's submission, which makes some interesting - and actually well-substantiated - suggestions about Mr Badman's own motives, not least in relation to the formation of his limited company, Nektus.

Everything comes to light in the end.


Blogger Gill said...

Ali's just said "That wasn't a report. It was a smear campaign."

8:26 am, November 05, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When oh when is Private eye going to do a double page spread on this!
It has reached epic proportions now. Come on Mr Ian Hislop!

9:26 am, November 05, 2009  
Blogger Mieke said...

Has anybody contacted Ian Hislop yet? Seeing how comparatively little media attention there has been for our side of the story, I don't think he's aware of what's going on unless someone tells him. But these submissions in the public domain is a brilliant opportunity to get the media to pay attention, imo.

10:11 am, November 05, 2009  
Blogger Lisa G said...

What about Henry Porter,
Isn't attacks on our liberty and rights, his specialty?
I kind of find it shocking that the guy can get away with this crap especially after reading this AND Tech's blog.

10:36 am, November 05, 2009  
Blogger Firebird said...

And let's not ignore the fact that he suggested only that MOTHERS who home educate are metally ill. I think we can add misogyny to Badman's list of unsavory character traits.

11:04 am, November 05, 2009  
Blogger Bev said...

I eagerly await the Dark Lord Badman's side of the story. This is definitely a good enough reason for him to resurrect his blog. C'mon DLB, explain yourself, man!

11:20 am, November 05, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

word fail me! its just so wrong of Badman to have done this!

1:10 pm, November 05, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A mother was under investigation for Munchausen's after repeatedly taking her child in to see the GP and into A&E when the GP wouldn't do anything about her concerns. Fortunately, before the investigation got too far, an A&E doctor took her and her screaming child seriously. The child had a rare form of cancer, and thankfully received treatment in time to save its life, but it had had to suffer severe recurring pain for months before anything was done. The child was not home educated, but what would have happened if it had been?
It would be only natural if this further slur on home educating parents caused some to hesitate before seeking medical attention, and to be less confident in insisting on a proper investigation of symptoms. It would be a tragedy if such hesitation led to the death or serious injury of a child.

5:24 pm, November 05, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all good stuff for our legal challenge.

Sex discrimination.

Appalling treatment of a minority groups.

Flagrant contempt for the human rights of parents and children.

The national debt will double when we are compensated!

Outraged of Swindon

10:25 pm, November 05, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they were given permission to film in the first instance, then they have the right to release that film in any way that they like. The department has no power to stop them from releasing it. They are making up the law as they go along.

10:18 am, November 12, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did he even invent MSBP? He was our paediatrician but we were lucky that he was already under investigation at the time we had him.
He told us to take our daughter home, and take her off her night time breathing monitor, without any explanation as to why she may suddenly breathe reliably. He finished this announcement with "Your child is normal and well. Are you happy about this?" The threat was clear to me and we asked no questions.

1:29 am, November 18, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Gill, just clicked your link and you've got Roy Meadows. It was Professor David Southall who was involved in having Sally Clarke's husband arrested from watching a documentary and without any contact with the case. I thought you were referring to him. My mistake.
He's an interesting bod to look up! :-(

1:32 am, November 18, 2009  

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