Autism Awareness

It looks as if France is finally dragging its awareness and treatment of autism into the 21st Century with the announcement this week that new measures are to be introduced from next year to detect autism earlier and a move away from the use of psychoanalysis to treat the disorder to a more behavioural-based treatment.

Minister for the disabled Marie-Arlette Carlotti also announced a budget of €205 million to be spent creating 700 nursery school places specifically for autistic children and training 5,000 childcare professionals in how best to treat children with the disorder. 

"We know that that the sooner it is diagnosed, the better it can be treated," said Ms Carlotti. "For the past 40 years in France, the psychoanalytical approach has prevailed. It is time to give room to other methods for a simple reason: they have been proven to work and are recommended by the health authorities." 

Up to 600,000 people in France have some form of autism but many accuse France of being too slow to update its approach to the disorder. Families have complained of their children being rtreated in psychiatric hospitals and kept in a state of psychosis rather than being taught how to communicate. Parents refusing to accept this approach have even been sued for neglect.

Carlottis's announcement comes after a victory last year for autism campaigners when health authorities recommended, for the first time, the use of a communications based approach to autism.

More on autism in France here.

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