France Still in the Dark Ages of Autism Treatment

A court case against a French filmmaker has brought attention to the questionable treatment of people affected by autism in France.

Sophie Robert released her first documentary The Wall: Psychoanalysis put to the Test for Autism in September 2011 in France. The documentary looks at the continual abuse and dehumanization of people with autism. It explores how the French psychiatric community still maintains the disproved theory of autism being caused by the mother rather than any of the increasingly recognized neurological causes, as well as their insistence that people with autism are useless and incompetent and should be put away.

Three of the psychoanalysts interviewed in the film took legal action against Robert calling for the film to be banned.  A court hearing was held on December 8th and the parents with autistic children started a grassroots campaign to support Sophie in France.

Supporters of Robert’s cause say the documentary is just the tip of the iceberg. The problem of autism in France is dramatic compared to most developed countries.

For instance, in France autism is often considered a “psychosis”, some even regard it as “child schizophrenia”. As a result, most children with autism are institutionalized in psychiatric units from a very young age until old age.

80% of the children with ASD don’t go to school and many don’t receive diagnosis until after the age of six.

Some parents decide to protect their children and bring them in exile to Belgium so they can receive better care and have access to schools.

The Regional Court of Lille released its verdict on Thursday Jan. 26, 2012 censoring and banning “The Wall”. Sophie Robert and her sole-proprietorship company “Océan Invisible Productions” are sentenced pay to at least 40 000 EUROS in damages and lawyers fees to the plaintiffs. They intend to appeal and support for their cause is mounting.

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  1. Posted February 3, 2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Je n’ai pu avoir la traduction mais j’ai compris votre dénonciation du mauvais traitement des personnes atteintes du syndrome autistiques en France Qui avec ses 20 ans de retard ,ose encore proner la psychanalyse pour nos enfants .Alors oui je suis de tout coeur avec vous pour bannir denoncer et condamner ces agissements barbares que sont le packing et autres méthodes d’un autre age qui detruisent des vies Nous attendons avec impatience ce projet de loi en France qui demande l’interdiction de la psychanalyse comme traitement de l’autisme Je suis une mère et grand mère d’enfants autistes Merci

  2. Roberta
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Can you translate the last Comment that is in French?

    I am shocked that the French people would Institutionalize these children!!

  3. Angie
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    (translation of First Comment) Hello
    I could have the translation but I understood your denunciation of abuse of people with autistic syndrome in France who has 20 years late, still dares to advocate for our children psychoanalysis. So yes I wholeheartedly with you to banish denounce and condemn these barbaric activity the packing and other methods of another age that destroy lives We look forward to this bill in France that calls for ban of psychoanalysis as a treatment for autism I am a mother and grandmother of autistic children thanks

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