ASAT Responds to The Guardian’s, “‘France is 50 Years Behind’: The ‘State Scandal’ of French Autism Treatment”

March 9, 2018


Dear Angelique Chrisafis:

Thank you for your article, “’France is 50 years behind’: the ‘state scandal’ of French autism treatment.” Sadly, it looks like not much progress has been made since we first wrote about the unethical condition of autism treatment in France (January, 2012, February 2012, May, 2012). The psychoanalytic approach is still predominant despite not having any evidence to present on its effectiveness. Children with autism continue to be denied appropriate evaluation and treatment. As you reported, some children with autism are being kept in psychiatric institutions pre- and post-diagnosis, where almost nothing is done to address their complex, yet very well understood needs. Parents are still losing their children simply for trying to access evidence-based evaluation and treatment for them. This is not only heartbreaking; this is a severe violation of rights one would not expect to see in France.

We thank you and other journalists working to expose the outrage and hope you will continue to monitor what is being done to improve the abusive conditions imposed on vulnerable children and their families. Thank you for sharing this powerful document by the United Nations, which corroborates the ineffectiveness of psychoanalysis in the treatment of autism, and denounces the lack of funding of the appropriate therapies, as well as the continued retaliation against families fighting for their rights.

ASAT promotes safe, effective, science-based treatments for people with autism by disseminating accurate, timely, and scientifically sound information, advocating for the use of scientific methods to guide treatment, and combating unsubstantiated, inaccurate and false information about autism and its treatment. We do so via several initiatives, including Media Watch (, a quarterly newsletter (, and our website (

Our hearts are with these families and we reiterate our fierce opposition of the current state of autism diagnosis and treatment in France. We hope to read about Mr. Emmanuel Macron’s action plan very soon and that it is comprehensive, effective and implemented immediately.


Daniela Fazzio, PhD, BCBA-D

David Celiberti, PhD, BCBA-D

Association for Science in Autism Treatment

Back to Archive

Send this to a friend