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.