Hunger Strikes by French Mothers with Autistic Children

Jacqueline Tiarti with daughter Melissa

Jacqueline Tiarti with daughter Melissa

Mothers of Autistic children in France are resorting to hunger strikes to demonstrate their urgency to get the right treatment for their children.

France, in particular prefer the treatment of Autism using psychoanalytic methods, rather than the approach adopted in other countries of behavioural and educational therapy.

Jaqueline Tiarti, started a hunger strike on July 5, and is now in her second week of fasting. Her seven year old daughter Melissa was diagnosed as being on the Autistic Spectrum two years ago.

Ms Tiarti writes (translated) on her Facebook page:

“ I carefully considered this action before I started. I have taken action before which has not resulted in change. I, alongside thousands of other families cannot finance my daughter through cognitive behavioural therapy as recommended by the Authority of Health.

This injustice continues, the waiting lists for therapy are two and a half years. I am determined to continue my work to the end. This is my stand for the voice of autistic children. Beautiful Republic, do you hear me?”

Pierre Canouï, Psychiatrist and president of the French Federation of Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, acknowledges: “I understand the frustration of these mothers. Educational methods have their place in the treatment of autism and it is impossible to find trained educators or spaces institutions. It is a mistake to be in the all-psychoanalytic, as it would be wrong to make the all-rehabilitative. The two methods are related and necessary.”

The price for cognitive behavioural support in France is around €2,500  per month ($3870.00) and unlike medical prescribing of drugs for Autism it provides life skills development for the diagnosed children.

Historically a number of French mothers have undertaken a hunger strike against the treatment of Autism in France. Most notably Chantal Tréhin who plays an active role with both Autism Europe and the World Autism Organisation.

Speaking to Autism Daily Newscast today, President of the French Autism Society Asperger-Amitie, Miraim Sarbac said:

“It would be interesting to find out if these mothers are alone, left by their husbands or alone to take care of their child. I cannot give any immediate judgment on this particular hunger strike, the only message is to ask them what would happen if they make themselves into a danger? Who would then take care of their child?”

Yesterday on  Facebook update Ms Tiarti wrote : “9 th day of hunger strike. I am weak, but the motivation and desire to fight for our children always there.”