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Sunday, January 6, 2013

France, Autism, and Psychoanalysis

Previous posts have discussed the dismal state of autism treatment in France.  A film titled "The Wall,"by Sophie Robert, explained the ongoing grip of discredited psychoanalytic theories in that country.  Kristina Chew writes:
Robert’s film has been part of an ongoing effort to change the understanding and treatment of autism in France. After the organization Autism Europe lodged a complaint against France in 2002 for failing to educate autistic children, the European Committee of Social Rights said that “France has failed to achieve sufficient progress” in educating autistic children and had made autistics an “excluded group.”
Seeking to help their children, more parents in France have been taking action, lobbying politicians like Daniel Fasquelle, a member of France’s parliament who says in the BBC that it is an “an out-and-out disgrace” that France’s medical community should continue to swear by psychoanalysis as the treatment for autism. David Heurtevent’s Support the Wall project continues the fight for the rights of autistics in France to education and services.
It is perhaps not surprising that the use of psychoanalysis to treat autism should be making its last stand in France, where Freudianism has long been applied not only to the treatment of mental illness but also to the study of literature, philosophy and radical politics. In a new year, it is more than time for the French medical community to acknowledge that it is decades behind the rest of the world in understanding what autism is and in treating and educating autistic individuals in ways that will actually help them achieve all they can.