Autism in France

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Because of Malika's thread, I decided to explore why french authors may view autism as such a negative thing. I came up with a few really sad and scary articles which bode ill for those in France who have autism. I am copy and pasting one article and posting the link to another. Seems that they are behind the rest of the world in understanding autism! It makes me understand how horrible it must be to even acknowledge a child has ADHD in France...a condition which is not seen as terrible in most countries.

    Why is Autism in dire situation in France? Is there real abuse?
    The documentary is the tip of the iceberg. The issue is much deeper. The problem of autism in France is dramatic compared to most developed countries.
    For instance, autism is viewed very often there as a 'psychosis', a mental health issue. Some even regard it as 'child schizophrenia'. As a result, most kids with autism are institutionalized in psychiatric units from a very young age until old age. In many ways, Autism in France still looks at times like the old movies 'Rain Man' or even 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'.
    Theories are not just backwards. They can be really harmful. Followers of the psychoanalytic theories of the early 20[SUP]th[/SUP] century continue to blame mothers for the autism of their child. As a result, social services sometime withdraw the children from their parents based on this crazy theory.
    80% of the children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) don't go to school and many kids receive their diagnosis after age six.
    Worse, France still allow very harsh techniques, such as 'packing', a 'barbaric' practice which consists of wrapping children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), naked, or in undies, in cold wet sheets (at 50°F, 10°C), like mummies. I invite you to read more about packing on our website.
    Some parents decide to protect their children and bring their children in exile to Belgium so they can receive better care and have access to schools.
    What can we do about it?
    It is time to say 'enough' to France, which has been already condemned by the Council of Europe in 2004. Even though 2012 has been declared the year of National Attention for Autism by the French Government, no real decision has been made to stop abuse.
    On January 24[SUP]th[/SUP] evening, we plan on releasing a funny video to celebrate the selection of the French movie 'The Artist' for the Oscars.
    On January 26[SUP]th[/SUP], Sophie Robert and I will give a press conference in English in New York City. Sophie Robert will discuss the court decision. I will launch an international campaign to stop abuse of autistics in France and we hope many of you will sign our petition.
    You will be able to watch the conference live for free on USTREAM: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/support-the-wall-press-conference
    Alex Plank and many others (Temple Grandin, Donna Williams, Diane Fraser, Travis Thompson, Tony Attwood, etc) are following and supporting our campaign.
    We need your help to make it really successful and to change the lives of children and adults on the spectrum in France and elsewhere.
    Don't forget to check regularly our website: http://www.supportthewall.org'
    And Keep Checking Wrong Planet for more information!

    This link is another one about autism in France:

    http://runningahospital.blogspot.com/2012/01/autism-in-france.html


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  2. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Wow, MWM! Thank you for this info. I had no idea they were so backwards and uneducated about the roots and treatment of autism. How destructive toward the mother-child relationship. How barbaric!

    One of the times I went back to visit relatives, an in-law, whose father was a French MD, tried to shame me in front of my family because I said I was suffering from a 24hr virus and he insisted that there was no such thing. He was pretty vicious about US medicine and he was aware that my husband was an MD.
     
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I think this describes a certain background, MWM, against which things are changing, doubtless too slowly in some areas. I don't think you would find this to be the general view of autism now, though the psycho-analytical idea that autism was caused by the "refrigerator mother" or cold, unaffectionate parents was indeed a standard and respectable view here, and perhaps still is in some quarters. But I think more often now people accept that autism is not caused in this way.
    The problem we have here is that the psychiatrists who staff the main public service children's psychiatric units are almost all old-school, pyscho-analysts. I guess they are slowly being replaced. I have seen one myself, with J, a few times - last saw him on Monday, as it happens. He seems like a nice, erudite chap, but his view basically is that J's hyperactivity and impulsivity are caused mainly by the circumstances of his life - my divorce, his adoption, the fact that the father is in Morocco and he doesn't know where his identity lies... I've told him I think neuro-biology has more of a part to play, and he has been reasonably receptive to that and willing to discuss different ideas - but his view of things is basically that children's behaviour is formed by their environment... Like an interesting novel by a good writer.... And I think this chap likes to spin his tales, which are interesting enough but I don't think very valid. J was hyperactive before we were divorced, before he lived outside Morocco, etc.
    Most of the time, when parents of ADHD kids go to these public service doctors here, they will get some variety of this... it is in some way to do with the child's circumstances and family. Psychiatrists outside that system and in hospitals have a far more conventional, neuro-biological approach. So the picture is uneven. And people are increasingly aware of literature and approaches from other European countries and the States.
    By the way, it is NOT true that most autistic children here are institutionalised, though it may have been the case some years ago. One has to be careful not to take all one reads on the net at face value, I guess. I did a bit of research myself, looking at French websites and came across a very recent article about how the central medical authority here has recently published a statement directly opposing the stance of the psycho-analysts on the causes and treatment of autism and calling for France to come into line with international standards. So I guess the position is pretty much what I thought.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012
  4. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I have not yet read it, but most likely will order it: "Louis, pas a pas" by Francis Perrin (yes the actor and produceur). His journey with his wife to find help for their severely autistic child. They, indeed, went to Belgium to seek appropriate treatment (ABA therapy) with much success. I think Louis, their son, is now mainstreamed at school .
    Anyhow, I have not done extensive research on France and autism. But my understanding is that, although undeniably behind, things are changing.
     
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Considering that France is held up as the blue ribbon for healthcare (and mental health is part of health care) this really surprised me. I believe they are probably very good in other areas, but I could tell, just by Malika's posts about being so afraid of ADHD, that something wasn't right with childhood neurological disabilities in France so I decided to give it a whirl after I read about the book. I was truly shocked, since I had a different view of France. Truly, I thought the entire civilized world had already discredited Freud's theories. You don't find them anywhere here in the States. I always thought of France as a highly intelligent, enlightened country. Maybe it is, but clearly not in this area.

    So you can see I'm a bit startled...lol. Malika, you may well have to go to the uk to get help for J.
     
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Though to be fair, MWM (always good to attempt this, don't you think? :)) I don't think we have conclusive knowledge about the brain or about disorders and the neuro-biological view is still, doubtless, not complete. I am sure factors of circumstance do have some weight. I've seen J become more settled in himself and less oppositional/defiant as he become more stable in his life, for example... this must be related to anxiety. But nothing affects the hyperactivity, which according to this good old psycho-analytical psychiatrist is due to the fact that he is "moving about trying to find himself"... well, yes. It makes a good talking point over a Parisian dinner table but isn't really very plausible...
    I don't know that the French are highly intelligent and enlightened - for intelligence you need obscure European countries that are never in the limelight and for enlightenment, Britain. Lol :)
     
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, Malika, I agree that your parenting CAN affect how a child with a disorder grows and evolves...but I know that autism isn't caused by "refrigerator moms." Cripes, that mindset was when I was a little one (I am now 58). There is a lot of proof that autism is a neurobiological disorder that is hereditary in nature and I tend to believe the same about ADHD. When something is wrong (or not wrong) there is always a chance that good parenting can make it better.

    That's why I'm a big believer in early treatment :) Good luck!
     
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    In terms of ADHD, the real scandal here is not the medical treatment, which more or less approximates what you have in the States, with the caveat that they are far less ready to give a quick diagnosis or prescribe medications quickly here (probably a good thing). No, the thing that is really quite frightening is the sheer ignorance and recalcitrance of the teaching profession as a whole in regard to making special accommodations for ADHD. In the French ADHD forum, you hear again and again the same story of how an ADHD child has been repeatedly humiliated, denigrated and punished by the teacher, despite the diagnosis (which is often ridiculed or dismissed). I've had it happen too, with J's teacher pretending to take on board that you need to treat J differently and give him more latitude and more positive encouragement but in reality running him down and punishing him constantly. Children who do not bow down and fit the mould here are very harshly treated. It does make me depressed reading all this stuff on the French forum because it seems totally up to the parents to try and educate the teachers and of course often they are unsuccessful.
     
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    That isn't just France, Malika.
    HOW many times on this forum do we run into "school-mindset" problems?
    A whole spectrum of degrees of problems, to be sure, but... difficult child has been there - and some of his teachers I'm sure would fit in quite well in France.
     
  10. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

  11. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    just to add to the whole debate:
    if this statement was understood litterally (not figuratively which I presume was what the doctor meant, but who knows...), it could make A LOT of sense. Kids with sensory issues don't feel their body the way we do. V has to move, crash and bump to know where he is in space.
    Ok, sorry for being a smarty pants :) Because really, we all agree on this forum. I have, myself, many times been glad to live in US when it comes to officially (medical community that is) recognizing V's issues.
     
  12. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Lol, Ktllc, do you think my good doctor has any time for sensory issues? :)
     
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    American diseases!!!! :heh::heh: I know a few.
     
  14. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Interestingly, V crashing and bumping around may be similar to a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) issue (sensory for sure, no argument there)... because Bean does it. A LOT. Now of course EVERYONE would say that is normal - for BEAN. Bean's learning to explore his/her surroundings.

    But so is V, wouldn't you say? So why isn't it normal for V, too? Oh, yeah. It IS - we (collective societal WE) just don't see it like that.
     
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