Breaking News
May 3, 2019 - Vaping and Smoking May Signal Greater Motivation to Quit
May 3, 2019 - Dementia looks different in brains of Hispanics
May 3, 2019 - Short-Staffed Nursing Homes See Drop In Medicare Ratings
May 3, 2019 - Study of teens with eating disorders explores how substance users differ from non-substance users
May 3, 2019 - Scientists develop new video game that may help in the study of Alzheimer’s
May 3, 2019 - Arc Bio introduces Galileo Pathogen Solution product line at ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
May 3, 2019 - Cornell University study uncovers relationship between starch digestion gene and gut bacteria
May 3, 2019 - How to Safely Use Glucose Meters and Test Strips for Diabetes
May 3, 2019 - Anti-inflammatory drugs ineffective for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
May 3, 2019 - Study tracks Pennsylvania’s oil and gas waste-disposal practices
May 3, 2019 - Creating a better radiation diagnostic test for astronauts
May 3, 2019 - Vegans are often deficient in these four nutrients
May 3, 2019 - PPDC announces seed grants to develop medical devices for children
May 3, 2019 - Study maps out the frequency and impact of water polo head injuries
May 3, 2019 - Research on Reddit identifies risks associated with unproven treatments for opioid addiction
May 3, 2019 - Good smells may help ease tobacco cravings
May 3, 2019 - Medical financial hardship found to be very common among people in the United States
May 3, 2019 - Researchers develop multimodal system for personalized post-stroke rehabilitation
May 3, 2019 - Study shows significant mortality benefit with CABG over percutaneous coronary intervention
May 3, 2019 - Will gene-editing of human embryos ever be justifiable?
May 3, 2019 - FDA Approves Dengvaxia (dengue vaccine) for the Prevention of Dengue Disease in Endemic Regions
May 3, 2019 - Why Tonsillitis Keeps Coming Back
May 3, 2019 - Fighting the opioid epidemic with data
May 3, 2019 - Maggot sausages may soon be a reality
May 3, 2019 - Deletion of ATDC gene prevents development of pancreatic cancer in mice
May 2, 2019 - Targeted Therapy Promising for Rare Hematologic Cancer
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease is a ‘double-prion disorder,’ study shows
May 2, 2019 - Reservoir bugs: How one bacterial menace makes its home in the human stomach
May 2, 2019 - Clinical, Admin Staff From Cardiology Get Sneak Peek at Epic
May 2, 2019 - Depression increases hospital use and mortality in children
May 2, 2019 - Vicon and NOC support CURE International to create first gait lab in Ethiopia
May 2, 2019 - Researchers use 3D printer to make paper organs
May 2, 2019 - Viral infection in utero associated with behavioral abnormalities in offspring
May 2, 2019 - U.S. Teen Opioid Deaths Soaring
May 2, 2019 - Opioid distribution data should be public
May 2, 2019 - In the Spotlight: “I’m learning every single day”
May 2, 2019 - 2019 Schaefer Scholars Announced
May 2, 2019 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Bye-Bye, ACA, And Hello ‘Medicare-For-All’?
May 2, 2019 - Study describes new viral molecular evasion mechanism used by cytomegalovirus
May 2, 2019 - SLU study suggests a more equitable way for Medicare reimbursement
May 2, 2019 - Scientists discover first gene involved in lower urinary tract obstruction
May 2, 2019 - Researchers identify 34 genes associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer
May 2, 2019 - Many low-income infants receive formula in the first few days of life, finds study
May 2, 2019 - Global study finds high success rate for hip and knee replacements
May 2, 2019 - Taking depression seriously: What is it?
May 2, 2019 - With Head Injuries Mounting, Will Cities Put Their Feet Down On E-Scooters?
May 2, 2019 - Scientists develop small fluorophores for tracking metabolites in living cells
May 2, 2019 - Study casts new light into how mothers’ and babies’ genes influence birth weight
May 2, 2019 - Researchers uncover new brain mechanisms regulating body weight
May 2, 2019 - Organ-on-chip systems offered to Asia-Pacific regions by Sydney’s AXT
May 2, 2019 - Adoption of new rules drops readmission penalties against safety net hospitals
May 2, 2019 - Kids and teens who consume zero-calorie sweetened beverages do not save calories
May 2, 2019 - Improved procedure for cancer-related erectile dysfunction
May 2, 2019 - Hormone may improve social behavior in autism
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by infectious proteins called prions
May 2, 2019 - Even Doctors Can’t Navigate Our ‘Broken Health Care System’
May 2, 2019 - Study looks at the impact on criminal persistence of head injuries
May 2, 2019 - Honey ‘as high in sugars as table sugar’
May 2, 2019 - Innovations to U.S. food system could help consumers in choosing healthy foods
May 2, 2019 - FDA Approves Mavyret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir) as First Treatment for All Genotypes of Hepatitis C in Pediatric Patients
May 2, 2019 - Women underreport prevalence and intensity of their own snoring
May 2, 2019 - Concussion summit focuses on science behind brain injury
May 2, 2019 - Booker’s Argument For Environmental Justice Stays Within The Lines
May 2, 2019 - Cornell research explains increased metastatic cancer risk in diabetics
May 2, 2019 - Mount Sinai study provides fresh insights into cellular pathways that cause cancer
May 2, 2019 - Researchers to study link between prenatal pesticide exposures and childhood ADHD
May 2, 2019 - CoGEN Congress 2019: Speakers’ overviews
May 2, 2019 - A new strategy for managing diabetic macular edema in people with good vision
May 2, 2019 - Sagent Pharmaceuticals Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Ketorolac Tromethamine Injection, USP, 60mg/2mL (30mg per mL) Due to Lack of Sterility Assurance
May 2, 2019 - Screen time associated with behavioral problems in preschoolers
May 2, 2019 - Hormone reduces social impairment in kids with autism | News Center
May 2, 2019 - Researchers synthesize peroxidase-mimicking nanozyme with low cost and superior catalytic activity
May 2, 2019 - Study results of a potential drug to treat Type 2 diabetes in children announced
May 2, 2019 - Multigene test helps doctors to make effective treatment decisions for breast cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - UNC School of Medicine initiative providing unique care to dementia patients
May 2, 2019 - Nestlé Health Science and VHP join forces to launch innovative COPES program for cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - Study examines how our brain generates consciousness and loses it during anesthesia
May 2, 2019 - Transition Support Program May Aid Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes
May 2, 2019 - Study shows how neutrophils exacerbate atherosclerosis by inducing smooth muscle-cell death
May 2, 2019 - Research reveals complexity of how we make decisions
Lagging decades behind on autism care, France plays catch-up

Lagging decades behind on autism care, France plays catch-up

Lagging decades behind on autism care, France plays catch-up
French President Emmanuel Macron listens to hospital staff during a visit at the Rouen hospital, Normandy, Thursday, April 5, 2018. Macron is unveiling a long-awaited autism plan for a country that is shockingly behind the curve on providing basic education and care for people on the autism spectrum. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, Pool)

When Gaspard Bigand was 3 years old, his pre-school teachers labeled him “different.” But his parents got zero advice from the French education or health care systems, and it took two years for him to be diagnosed with autism.

The family’s challenges were only beginning, in a country where only 20 percent of children with autism go to school. Despite France’s lauded public health care system, it’s shockingly behind the curve on providing basic education and therapy for people with autism. Seeking to change that, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a long-awaited, 340-million-euro autism plan Thursday.

The plan includes a push for earlier diagnosis, help for families, teacher training and research to better understand autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder marked by repetitive behaviors and impairment in verbal communication and social interaction.

Yet families and associations say the plan is unlikely to take the giant steps needed to catch France up with the United States, Canada, and other European countries.

Public awareness in France is surprisingly low, with some parents telling their children to avoid autistic peers. Many adults on the autism spectrum remain undiagnosed. French families who can afford it go to neighboring Belgium or across the Atlantic to get better treatment and care.

Lagging decades behind on autism care, France plays catch-up
French President Emmanuel Macron talks to a baby as he visits the Rouen hospital, Normandy, Thursday, April 5, 2018. French President Emmanuel Macron is unveiling a long-awaited autism plan for a country that is shockingly behind the curve on providing basic education and care for people on the autism spectrum. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, Pool)

“You can’t imagine the level of suffering and anger of the families,” said Daniele Langloys, president of the association Autisme France. Langloys listed outdated therapy practices, lack of trained medical staff and teachers, and an obstacle course to gain access to school, care and employment.

Macron says his plan can change that.

“You will save enormous amounts of money if you manage to register a young child of 2 years old very early in a program that will enable him to be kept in school normally,” he said.

That’s been essential for families like Gaspard’s, living in a small Normandy town and struggling with what his mother Anne-Claire calls the “monstrous” costs and bureaucratic hurdles of getting him care.

Lagging decades behind on autism care, France plays catch-up
French President Emmanuel Macron’s wife Brigitte Macron smiles to a baby during a visit at the Rouen hospital, Normandy, Thursday, April 5, 2018. French President Emmanuel Macron is unveiling a long-awaited autism plan for a country that is shockingly behind the curve on providing basic education and care for people on the autism spectrum. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, Pool)

As a toddler, he didn’t reach out his arms, didn’t speak and plugged his ears to block out the world around him, his mother said. She quit her job to care for him, her third son.

After a protracted diagnosis process, reading the word “autism” on a letter was painful to Gaspard’s parents.

“At no point did we feel reassured. We are reassuring ourselves because we see how he’s growing and we are trying to tell ourselves we’re doing everything so that he’s comfortable,” Anne-Claire Bigand told The Associated Press.

They are among the lucky ones. Now Gaspard is in his first year of primary school, where “there are by chance great teachers who do everything to include Gaspard … Although they have a lack of training and a lack of information, they are very much involved,” his mother said.

Lagging decades behind on autism care, France plays catch-up
French President Emmanuel Macron smiles during a meeting, with his wife Brigitte, left, as he visits the Rouen hospital, Normandy, Thursday, April 5, 2018. Macron is unveiling a long-awaited autism plan for a country that is shockingly behind the curve on providing basic education and care for people on the autism spectrum. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, Pool)

He was reading well ahead of his peers, so teachers allow him to spend time in a reading corner while others are still learning the basics, or get up when he has trouble concentrating—things unthinkable in most French classrooms.

The Bigand family finally found a neuropsychologist able to propose them solutions for daily life, just one month ago.

“This takes much time, this is expensive. It’s clear not all families can do it,” Bigand said.

Wearing a blue ribbon promoting autism awareness, Macron and his wife Brigitte visited a hospital unit in the Normandy city of Rouen and later a day care center that accepts children with autism—an exception in France.

This July 19, 2016 photo taken in Ouistreham, Normandy region, France, and provided by Anne-Claire Bigand shows her posing with her son, Gaspard Bigand, diagnosed with autistic disorders. French President Emmanuel Macron is unveiling a long-awaited autism plan for a country that is shockingly behind the curve on providing basic education and care for people on the autism spectrum. (Courtesy of Bigand family via AP)

In January, France’s Court of Auditors estimated that, statistically, about 700,000 people live with autism in France. But the number of adults identified as being on the autism spectrum is only 75,000, despite an improvement in early diagnosis in recent years, the Court wrote.

In the United States—where an estimated 1 in 68 children have autism—government agencies, medical organizations and advocacy groups all urge early diagnosis and treatment. U.S. public schools are required by law to offer individualized education programs to children with disabilities including autism.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians be alert for early signs in infants, especially those with a family history of the disorder. The influential group also recommends specific autism screening at age 18 months and 24 months.

Frederic Moreau and his family left France and moved to Montreal, Canada, when their autistic son Leonard was 13, out of frustration at lack of options at home.

Lagging decades behind on autism care, France plays catch-up
This July 23, 2017 photo taken in Ouistreham, Normandy region, France, and provided by Anne-Claire Bigand shows her son, Gaspard Bigand, diagnosed with autistic disorders. French President Emmanuel Macron is unveiling a long-awaited autism plan for a country that is shockingly behind the curve on providing basic education and care for people on the autism spectrum. (Courtesy of Bigand family via AP)

“When we arrived, we entered a completely different world,” he said.

He said Leonard was tested to determine the best way of teaching him at school, and medical staff communicated well with the school—which is not the case in France.

Leonard receives financial aid, and can request help to access job training and to look for work.

Now 21, he is about to enter a design school with the hope of working in animation.

Lagging decades behind on autism care, France plays catch-up
French President Emmanuel Macron, center, and his wife Brigitte Macron, left, meets hospital staff during a visit at the Rouen hospital, Normandy, Thursday, April 5, 2018. French President Emmanuel Macron is unveiling a long-awaited autism plan for a country that is shockingly behind the curve on providing basic education and care for people on the autism spectrum. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, Pool)


Explore further:
Study finds poor knowledge of autism among doctors in Sri Lanka

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles