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Transformations des représentations de l'autisme et de sa prise en charge

Abstract : Transformation of the representations of autism and treatment Summary 1. Background: the aim of the study was to illustrate the social and cultural constructions of autism in studying the transformations of its representations from 1943 to 2007. 2. Method: an ethnographic study was realized including observations in establishments with autistic children, interviews with families and professionals, as well as the analysis of the scientific publications and the public policies in France. 3. Results and discussion: since the publication of the CIM-10 (international classification of diseases) in 1993, the representations of autism evolved. First described as a rare and incurable disorder highly comorbid with mental retardation, the current definition of the syndrome is broader, giving rise to an “autistic spectrum”. The changes in the autism category explain the increasing prevalence rates. While its prevalence was estimated between 2 to 5 per 10 000 until the 1990s, it is now estimated at 1 per 150. The pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) category now includes severely challenged children with no language as well as individuals with good communication skills but impaired social interaction abilities. This evolution did not happen in the same way everywhere: PDD were introduced in the French classification in 2000 only. 4. Conclusion: French parents' associations have changed the view on autism, and have contributed to shaping public policy in France. They have chosen to promote the use of behavioural intervention. In doing so, they unexpectedly contributed to the reduced commitment of public authorities in the long term treatment of autistic persons.
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Contributor : Brigitte Chamak <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - 12:29:56 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, June 1, 2021 - 11:46:13 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00523799, version 1


Brigitte Chamak, David Cohen. Transformations des représentations de l'autisme et de sa prise en charge. Perspectives Psy, EDP sciences, 2007, 46 (3), pp.218-227. ⟨halshs-00523799⟩



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