France's Autism Treatment Shame

In many countries the standard way of treating autistic children is with behavioural therapy - stimulating and rewarding them to develop the skills they need to function in society - but France still puts its faith in psychoanalysis. And an increasing number of parents are now demanding change.

For autism campaigners, it is one of the most serious health scandals of our times.

How for decades France turned its back on the latest scientific thinking, and treated autism as a form of psychosis.

How as a result tens of thousands of children were misdiagnosed - or not diagnosed at all - and consigned to lives of misery.

And how to this day in its approach to autism, the French medical establishment continues to believe in the powers of psychiatry and psychoanalysis - long after the rest of the world has switched to alternative methods of treatment.

"It is an out-and-out disgrace," according to Daniel Fasquelle, a member of parliament who campaigns on the issue.

"Every day I am contacted by parents with the same story - how their child's autism was not detected in time, so they never had the treatment that they needed.

"Thousands of children could have been saved. They do it everywhere else. Why not here? It is France's shame."

Original story can be found at the BBC News Magazine site by clicking here.