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Autism: what has changed over the past two years



What has changed on the autism front in two years? What are the notable advances since the launch in 2018 of the new national autism strategy? This is what presented, Monday, September 28, Sophie Cluzel, Secretary of State for disabled people, and Claire Compagnon, interministerial delegate for this file. A 72-page document in the form of ” waypoint “ mid-term – the national strategy to be deployed until 2022 -, highlights several reasons for satisfaction.

Earlier diagnoses

In the scientific field, first of all, the interministerial delegation notes the establishment of better cooperation between researchers with the aim of better sharing and acceleration of research. Five centers of excellence around autism have, for example, been set up, in Nantes, Montpellier and Paris in particular.

→ INFOGRAPHICS. Autism numbers

It is then on daily life and support for families that the stage point focuses, with advances presented as “Significant”. Delays and delays had indeed been identified for years in the detection and diagnosis of developmental disorders. Thanks to the establishment of longer medical consultations and a grid highlighting different criteria and clinical signals, many “Early childhood professionals have now the possibility of spotting unusual developmental gaps in a child ”, we rejoice within the interministerial delegation.

Diagnosed earlier, the children – 8,000 to 9,000 children are born with autism each year – can then be referred to one of the 43 departmental platforms that are gradually opening up across France, bringing together psychologists, psychomotor therapists, occupational therapists, etc. As a result, a course of care and support that is intended to be more fluid.

Delay in schooling

Another big black point often denounced: education. At elementary school age, only 40% of autistic children attend “ordinary” education in France. Here again, the interministerial delegation highlights good results. “Between the 2017 school year and the start of the 2019 school year, the enrollment of autistic children, in primary and secondary education, has increased by 18%”, she specifies. At the start of the 2019 school year, more than 39,000 autistic children were thus progressing in a traditional school establishment.

However, these announcements annoy Danièle Langloys, president of Autism France a little. In the report, she sees mostly “Self-satisfaction” and of “The comm”. For her, the advances presented are real, of course, but partial and the room for improvement is gigantic: “39,000 children in mainstream education, that is. But there are currently 100,000 autistic children under the age of 18, she begins. 43 departmental support platforms? There are around a hundred departments, in France, the territorial network should be tightened. “

Same regret for the “employment” component. Of course, inclusion is progressing, thanks to better support for young adults. “But this integration into employment only concerns the most autonomous autistic people. What about those with the most severe disorders?, she asks. Many people are left by the wayside. “

Persistent difficulties

Sophie Cluzel and Claire Compagnon, the interministerial delegate, recognize this: “Two years is not enough to measure the success of a strategy. And many challenges persist, such as the isolation of adults and the lack of inclusive housing. “

Danièle Langloys, she also points out the enormous needs in training and information, among professionals and the general public. “While there have been, for 15 years, three different autism plans, we still say too many wrong things about autism”, she laments.

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