Autism as Viewed by French Parents

  • Brigitte ChamakEmail author
Reference work entry


Since the 1960s, the lack of public facilities devoted to autism has been denounced by the French parents’ associations. In the 1990s, with the change in the category of autism and the promotion of educational and behavioral methods, new associations emerged. They accused psychiatrists of fuelling parents’ guilty feelings and not ensuring stimulating environments and access to schooling for their children. The parents’ associations favored the widening of the diagnostic criteria for autism, and they demanded the transfer of the care of autism from hospital to school and the training of professionals in educational and behavioral methods. The genetic and neurobiological origins were emphasized to counter the suspicion of parental guilt.

In order to study the changes, a survey was conducted with the parents of children born between 1960 and 1989 and the parents of children born between 1990 and 2005. The analysis of the parental experiences of the diagnostic process and the services available for autistic children showed earlier age at diagnosis. However, the increase in the number of the diagnosed cases of autism and the arrival of less severe cases has led to even greater shortage of services.


Autism Spectrum Disorder Autistic Child Pervasive Developmental Disorder Child Psychiatrist Diagnostic Practice 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CERMES3-INSERM U988-CNRS UMR 8211-EHESSParis Descartes UniversityParisFrance

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