By day: mum of an autistic tot. By night: mum of an autistic tot.
Polly Tommey has great legs. She is a great actress and she and her great legs have had starring roles in many UK Sunday night dramas playing someone else’s great legs. Polly Tommey highlights these body double roles in her acting achievements. She’s the UK’s Jenny McCarthy…only not as loud, or as influential or as effective in getting her message across. Even getting her baps out – almost – raised little more than an embarrassed chuckle and certainly not autism awareness. In spite of the fact that my friends know that Pwdin is severely autistic, when asked if they remembered this billboard (left) those that did (mainly living in London) didn’t recall if they ever knew what it was for and most others said they simply didn’t know. “Wonderbras?” “Boobies?”
Tommey is the editor-in-chief of the Autism Trust’s propaganda rag The Autism Files. the magazine, edited and largely written (in the UK) by Polly Tommey – an actress, not a person with autism, not a scientist – describes itself as “the world authority on autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, ADD and other related disorders.” Having read a couple of editions there’s alot more in it about Polly Tommey, her husband and her neurotypical children than there is about her autistic son Billy who, when he does get a mention, it’s to draw attention to how brave, courageous and just super duper his family are for putting up with the lad – especially his mum. The remainder of the magazine has a limited number of themes for articles which are as follows:
To be fair, this isn’t every edition because that would be way too much to fit in alongside all the advertisements for tests and “therapies” and supplements available from her husband’s clinic.
Though she certainly doesn’t have the celebrity wallop of Jenny McCarthy and, to her credit, Tommey is nowhere near as rude or crass the two do have a few things in common besides a penchant for peroxide. Tommy has used her child’s condition to save herself from obscurity. She allies herself with Andrew Wakefield both believing that autism is caused by vaccines (although I don’t actually think Wakefield can seriously beilieve this) and can be cured by giving them and their charities and businesses lots of money for unproven and implausable medications and supplements after, of course, paying big bucks for a whole battery of diagnostically useless tests.
While the Autism Trust professes to champion the rights of autistic adults they push the idea that the best place for them is in institutionalised care (that they hope to provide). Strange then, or perhaps telling, that when the sickening abuses of adults with learning disabilities at Winterbourne View, Bristol, was aired on BBC’s Panorama, of all the UK autism charities Tommey’s was silent. The only quote I can find from her relating to this was on the Naidex website promoting their procucts (disability aids etc). Here is the comment in full so no editing (though I probably will still get accused of it)
“As a parent it is thoroughly reassuring that there are events like Naidex offering such a wealth of information to parents and carers of disabled children and adults, especially in light of the upsetting footage shown by Panorama. There are so many knowledgeable and friendly people at the shows who are fully equipped to provide expert help and guidance, and I strongly recommend visiting to anyone looking for support and advice on care.”
This documentary is truly shocking and contains scenes of horrific abuse of disabled adults and can be viewed in full here
Polly Tommey first really got noticed as the mum of an autistic child in 2004 when she and dear husband, Jonathan, appeared on the sensationalist Tonight With Trevor McDonald. If you’ve never seen the show it makes the Daily Mail seem moderate. They were there saying how they were successfully treating Billy’s autism with secretin (a hormone involved in digestion). When that bandwagon slowed to a near halt Tommeys, Mr & Mrs hopped on to the biomedical interventions one gathering pace in the States.
Jonathan, a disciple of Patrick Holford, is now making money calling himself a nutritionist (a title that means very little – the protected term is dietician) and encouraging parents to put their children on highly restrictive gluten and casein free diets (a bit more about that here). These diets can and do lead to nutrient deficits but, don’t fear, at the same £300 consultation, Mr Tommey will sell you all the supplements you could possibly need – if you uncritically follow his nonsensical advice – to make sure that your child get will these nutrients eating a regular diet would provide. Meanwhile, you can also purchase from him all you need to get rid of all the fungi and “bad bacteria” in their little bellies too.
Polly Tommy gets my back up. I think that’s pretty obvious. She’s always trotted out whenever there’s an autism story that gets any media attention and quite often what she says is tempered, sensible and I have no problem with. Here’s an example (she’s talking about potential diagnosis of autism by brain scanning):
Very moderate but here is a woman who is a die hard supporter of Andrew Wakefield despite the fact he has been struck off the medical register in the UK, his studies have been proved to be not just unrepeatable but fraudulent and those studies lacked ethics committee sanction. Wakefield and Murch (a co-author) did not stop at one study lacking ethics board approval. One child involved in the further research at the Royal Free, Jack Piper, then aged 5 nearly lost his life as a result of a botched colonoscopy that was not “clinically indicated or justified.” His bowel was left perforated in 12 places – technically an assault.
This is the woman who, by posing in her bra, got invited to 10 Downing Street to advise the Prime Minister of the day, Gordon Brown on autism policy. Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, author of Defeating Autism: a Damaging Delusion, himself a father of an autistic son made his own approach to PM Brown upon learning of Tommey’s invite to #10:
“in the interests of children and families affected by autism, I hope that you will refuse support for her key activities – upholding discredited links between vaccines and autism and recommending unproven and untested fringe treatments”
“If she demands that the government invest more resources in researching alleged links between vaccines and autism, I suggest that she should be advised that this would be a waste of scarce funds. If she demands government support for unorthodox biomedical testing and treatment, I would further suggest that she should be advised that until there is good evidence for such interventions parents should be discouraged from imposing them on their children”
Here’s Polly Tommey giving Wakefield yet another outlet for his contemptuous crap:
On one hand she poses as some kind of crusader for access to resources and for public funding to make autism easier to live with for all those affected by it and on the other she and her odious husband Jonathan are fleecing desperate parents of autistic children out of what little time and money they have in the pursuit of quackery: time and money better spent elsewhere.
If you still think she’s ok and at least a more credible voice than Jenny McCarthy, then you should look at this…I recommend muting first though!