Autism [AUTISTS] IN FRANCE: Why we’re 40 years behind. (…) THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FOR AUTISTS IN FRANCE IS CULTURAL     Peter Crosbie     « LAutisme [LES AUTISTES] EN FRANCE : Pourquoi nous sommes arriérés de 40 années (…) LE PLUS GRAND PROBLÈME POUR LES AUTISTES EN FRANCE EST D’ORDRE CULTUREL »  2018 ✻ ✻ Intégralement d’Actualité 2022 Entirely of Current Relevance

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   Article en langue anglaise intraduisible par les traducteurs automatiques puisqu’il porte sur les dissonances culturelles-linguistiques-lexicologiques de la condescendance à la française : une traduction par les traducteurs automatiques nécessite une extensive rectification sémantique du texte produit, puisque les traducteurs automatiques se conforment à la malfaisance sémantique actuelle à la française sur les points examinés.

   An English-language article that cannot be validly translated by automatic translators since it deals with the cultural-linguistic-lexicological dissonances of the French-style condescension: a translation by machine translators requires extensive semantic rectification of the text produced, since the machine translators conform to the current French semantic malfeasance on the points examined.

Document ou publication ici du dimanche 19 août 2018
Article revu le 16 mars 2022


 
 Tout empire lentement  :
 il ne faut pas être pressé 

  
Everything worsens slowly:
no need to hurry
Cet article Autism-Advantage.com/autism-in-france.html, 2018, examine les notions en présence, et une fois les notions examinées, il ne se passe rien (ou pire) si le raisonnement culturel juridique n’est pas développé à la suite et que tout le travail fait reste à “flotter en l’air” (  CRITÈRE principal du MILITANTISME, collectif coordonné ou par extension, individuel Éléments à propos de la « REPRÉSENTA­TI­VITÉ POUR » ).
   This article Autism-Advantage.com/autism-in-france.html, 2018, examines the notions involved, and once the notions are examined, nothing happens (or worse) if the juridical cultural reasoning is not developed afterwards and all the work done remains to “float in the air”.
• Rem. sur « LE PLUS GRAND PROBLÈME POUR LES AUTISTES EN FRANCE EST D’ORDRE CULTUREL » : bien entendu, le plus grand de ces problèmes culturels en France étant l’abdication de tout raisonnement culturel juridique, pour ne réclamer les droits que comme des hochets incantatoires dispensant de tout raisonnement par hypothèse culturel, ou le cas échéant comme de la magie allocative sonnante et trébuchante. “Les idées, c’est mieux”, cela va de soi, et chacun ses idées justifiant les droits, mais surtout pas le raisonnement justifiant les droits : ce serait culturel. De quoi se faire haïr, encore plus ; « les » autistes y renoncent par conséquent, encore plus, pour des moulinets incantatoires… “comme tout le monde”.
   Rem. on “THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FOR AUTISTS IN FRANCE IS CULTURAL”: of course, the biggest of these cultural problems in France being the abdication of all juridical cultural reasoning, only to claim rights as incantatory rattles exempting from by hypothesis cultural reasoning, or if need be, as sound and stumbling allocative magic. ‘Ideas are better’, that goes without saying, and everyone their own ideas justifying rights, but certainly not the reasoning justifying rights : that would be cultural. This would make people hate themselves even more ; ‘the’ autists therefore renounce it, even more, for incantatory reels… ‘like everyone else’.

  

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Autism-Advantage.com · Autism in France [Autists in France] : Why we're 40 years behind. – Peter Crosbie, 2018
Autism-Advantage.com · Autism in France [Autists in France] : Why we’re 40 years behind. – Peter Crosbie, 2018
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(Ci-dessous tous les intertitres pointent vers l’article.)
(Below all headings link to the article).

Autism in France:
Why we’re 40 years behind.

Culture

Attitudes to Difference and Disability

Language

Where We Are

Vive la France.
Copyright © Peter Crosbie 2018. All Rights Reserved.

 
(Above all headings link to the article).
(Ci-dessus tous les intertitres pointent vers l’article.)

==> Autism in France :
Why we’re 40 years behind.

Following a recent article in SpectrumNews, there’s been some discussion regarding the situation of autism in France. But both the article and many of the responses suffer from inaccuracies and misconceptions. As someone who’s autistic and has lived in France for many years, I thought I’d try and fill in the gaps. Though as with all things French, it’s complex.

The image many outsiders have of autism in France is that there’s a battle between supporters and opponents of a view of autism as a psychosis or psychopathology, in short, a battle between psychoanalysts and the rest. But it’s not. In France, the debate isn’t about whether or not autists are dysfunctional or damaged, it’s only about who gets to fix them.

It’s true that the influence of psychoanalytic doctrines continues to do an enormous amount of harm to autists and their families here. Lacan and Freud have a lot to answer for. But, these views aren’t limited to the psychiatric or medical establishment, they permeate the social, educational and legal systems. However, when it comes to autism, this isn’t the only or even the biggest problem. The biggest problem for autists in France is cultural.

==> **Culture

“Culture, discourse, and social relations—rather than the rightness or wrongness of our bodies—makes us who we are and who we are understood to be.”

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson

So let’s start with culture. In fact, let’s start with mottos, the kind of thing that your football team or your school has. You may even have one on a family crest, something uplifting in Latin inscribed on a plaque you bought from a heraldic shop which now languishes in a box in the garage. France has a motto : Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. But in France, those three words aren’t just something embroidered on your school blazer, they go to the very heart of Frenchness itself. And why not : freedom, equality, fraternity are right up there with peace, love and understanding as principals to live your life by.

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Let’s look at the second of those, equality. On the surface at least, hard to see how it could be problematic. After all, surely what autists want is to be accepted as equal-to rather than lesser-than ?

Yes. But as long ago as the 18th century critics were pointing out that for all its positives, equality can also lead to "a brutal levelling of individualities” or "individuals reduced to homogeneity” (Wiki, see below) i.e., “people being equal” becomes “people being the same”. Further, when equality is bookended with fraternity and solidarity, it becomes “we’re all equal together” - and don’t you forget it. (See elsewhere on this site for a discussion of exclusionary in-group and out-group bias, which is more than relevant here.)

“The French republican model has traditionally been regarded as the ideal of inclusivity. However, in practice, this amounts to confronting minorities with highly assimilationist demands in terms of language and cultural mores and refuses public recognition of cultural diversity.” (Asari et al.) Throughout French culture, Liberté, ÉGALITÉ, Fraternité is used as a hammer to enforce homogeneity and suppress difference, diversity, and even exceptionalism. It leads to a game of Whac-A-Mole : any minorities or sub-cultures that dare poke their heads above the parapet are quickly bashed back down.

For example : French, and only French, is the official language of France. Minority native languages such as Breton or Basque have no official national status and as recently as 2015 the French Senate rejected a law ratifying the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Back in the day, President Chirac said that he was opposed to giving “special rights to organised linguistic communities”. Substitute “linguistic” in that phrase with any minority or identity-based community and you get the picture. And this isn’t an isolated case. France is the only major country in Europe that hasn’t ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. One of the consequences is that there is no Council of Europe monitoring of minority rights in France.

Another example, exceptionalism : there is no accelerated program in French schools. Kids who are exceptionally capable can skip a year, but it’s not encouraged. I know of English mother-tongue kids who at the stage where they were reading Harry Potter novels in English by themselves, were sitting in French classrooms with “This is Jack. Jack has a ball.” As one expat parent observed : “The schools in France are devoted to the French ideal of “égalité” so segregating the smart kids for special treatment really goes against the grain.”

There’s even a word that acts as a way of policing this specifically French notion of égalité : “le communautarisme”. Communautarisme is Egalité’s storm-trooper and does the dirty work : “In French political discourse, the primary function of communitarianism is as an operator of delegitimisation.” (Pierre-André Taguieff)

Here’s what happens. Say, for example, you’re an Afro-feminist group who wants to organise a series of conferences for women of African descent and only for women of African descent. You’ll have the (female and socialist) mayor of Paris telling you that you can’t use any public venues and find yourself roundly attacked from all sides of the political and social spectrum for your “communautarisme”. And no, as with the linguistic example above, this isn’t an isolated case.

The same fate awaits anyone looking to further the cause of any minority group, or even to recognise its existence. For example, as with any of the identity or culture-based fields of research, queer/LGBT studies is non-existent in France. When Marie-Hélène/Sam Bourcier attempted to introduce a Masters in Queer Studies at the University of Lille “I was treated as a communautariste rebel.” Needless to say, the course didn’t eventuate, nor have any similar courses, even though they’ve been available elsewhere since the seventies. As Jérôme Courduriès of the University of Toulouse noted on the possibility of introducing LGBT studies : “While it might be possible in the U.K., in France it’s just science fiction.” We’ll come back to disability studies later, but no, it doesn’t exist here either.

But these ideas aren’t limited to the hallowed halls of French administrative or academic institutions. They permeate French culture, and that includes autistic culture. I once found myself in conversation with someone on the autistic spectrum who was organising a conference and was met with horrified looks and “mais non !” when I asked why there couldn’t be only autistic speakers. In his report on the employment situation of autists in France, Josef Schovanec pointed out that you couldn’t propose an initiative such as Autism Hours in supermarkets without getting into a debate about communautarisme. (No, there are no Autism Hours in France.)

In response to this pressure to not appear “communautariste”, what passes for autistic/autism advocacy in France would be unrecognisable as such elsewhere. As the sociologist Brigitte Chamak sums up : “If in Anglo-Saxon countries groups organise themselves into social movements that challenge normative principles, in France we focus on defending the interests of people with autism and their families.” Autism advocacy in France means lobbying your MP for ABA therapy to be covered by the national health program, or organising a charity event so that the local autism day-care centre can buy a trampoline.

Chamak concludes that “the historical and cultural context and in particular the opposition to communitarianism are unfavourable to the development of radical demands”, though “unfavourable” is an understatement. You would never find a member of the French administration or even an autism support and advocacy group talking about the need to “empower” autists, as a member of the Spanish Health Ministry did at the 2017 ASDEU Conference. In a similar vein, presumably there’s a French phrase for “autistic-led”, but I’ve never heard it.

So forget autists having their own identity and culture, and forget about advocating for that identity. And with the attitudes that exist, forget about even having an autistic identity in the first place. Jeanette Purkis remarked, “I had to fight hard for my autistic identity.” Imagine how much harder that is when all around you the very notion of autistic identity is questioned, if not denied outright. This is a major impediment for French autists in undertaking the journey to self-acceptance and an autistic selfhood and only adds to the challenges that autists here face as kids growing up or as adults pre/post-diagnosis. In France, autists don’t get to exist - not as autists in any case.

==> **Attitudes to Difference and Disability

“We cannot make up positive disability identity out of nothing if we are unaware of usable models or narratives to remake ourselves.”

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson

Whether or not you see autism as a disability or a difference — or both simultaneously, a kind of autistic Schrödinger’s Cat — all autists will at times experience disablement as a result of living in a non-autistic world. (For more on this, I’d recommend Oolong’s Article as a starting point.) Accordingly, we can take models of disability as a useful framework for exploring attitudes to autism in France.

Internationally, the model of disability that increasingly forms the basis of governmental programs and policy from the U.N. and W.H.O. down to the local level is the social model (of disability). Briefly, the idea is that “disability is not an attribute of an individual, but rather a complex collection of conditions, many of which are created by the social environment. Hence, the management of the problem requires social action and is the collective responsibility of society at large.” (Disabled-World)

This model is usually juxtaposed with the medical model, which views disability as “a problem of the person, which therefore requires sustained medical care provided in the form of individual treatment by professionals.”

While France is a signatory to a number of international conventions on disability based on the social model, in practice it’s a model that is effectively non-existent here, particularly when it comes to autism. The catch-phrase in France as soon as there’s any discussion about autism is “prise en charge”. This has a range of meanings around “take care of” or “take responsibility for”, but in this context refers to care, treatment, therapy. It is simply a given in France that all autists need “prise en charge”, the only question is who provides it and what form it takes. This is the medical model writ large, where “management is aimed at a "cure," or the individual's adjustment and behavioural change.” (Disabled-World)

But it isn’t just the medical model that’s most common here, it’s a development of it, the charity model. This incorporates elements of another variant, the religious model, France being a strongly Catholic country (though so are Italy and Spain, and they are leagues ahead of France in terms of understanding and accepting autism). What these charity/religious models say is that yes, you’re different and damaged (the medical model) but don’t worry, we have a moral/religious obligation to take care of you. This means either institutionalisation or treatment with behavioural therapies (ABA) or antipsychotic drugs.

Almost nowhere in France is there recognition of the collective role society itself plays in disabling autists. School is a great mirror of a society, and France has an appalling record of access of autistic children to mainstream education. As a lawyer and autistic advocate remarked : “we never stop demanding that autistic children adapt to the classroom, but never demand that the classroom adapts to the autistic child”. So when it comes to whether or not teachers should modify their teaching approach or make adjustments in the classroom’s sensory environment, let alone whether the other students should be guided in how to adapt their behaviour to better accommodate an autistic classmate … bien sûr que non ! Not only does the solution rest in the autistic child themselves (medical model), we come up against le communautarisme again, i.e., we make no exceptions for those who are different. And it’s not just autists, take deaf children : sign language was banned in the French education system until 1991.

The global attitude is that these kids should be in special schools. One parent of an autistic child was told “I don’t want a psychotic child in the classroom”, though such stories are common. And it’s not just at elementary or primary school. A young autistic woman told me that after she’d successfully completed her Master’s Degree she was rejected for the Doctoral program because “This is a University, not a hospital.”

The medical model permeates and shapes French attitudes to autism. To give a few further examples of the consequences :

  • Research into autism is either bio-medical/genetic or looks at treatments and therapies such as ABA, though even here, research lags behind : at Autism Europe’s 2016 conference, there wasn’t a single paper presented by a French researcher, and French researchers are conspicuously absent at such events. There is virtually zero research into autists’ well-being, or in fields such as education or employment, let alone exploration of the nature of autism itself, autism theory or autism as a construct. The latter is particularly striking in a culture that prides itself on the central place that it accords to philosophy. The image of French intellectuals in black turtle-neck sweaters sitting round Les Deux Magots smoking Gauloises and debating whether God exists is a cliché but isn’t entirely wide of the mark. But given the situating of autism in the medical model, French philosophers would pay no more attention to the ontological status of autism than they would to the common cold.
  • Disability studies as a field is non-existent because apart from the problem of “le communautarisme”, if disability is a medical condition, then study of disability is an affair for medical professionals : doctors, psychiatrists, neuroscientists etc. Wikipedia is as good a guide as any as to how a culture sees itself and there’s no entry in the French Wiki for Disability Studies. None. (On the other hand, there is a small one for the social model of disability, but it notes that it’s an approach that was developed in the US/UK - in other words, it’s an invention of les anglo-saxons and doesn’t apply to us.) With no disability studies, there’s no real discourse around disability and thus no real vocabulary. So not only do we not talk about disability, we don’t even know how to talk about it, at least outside of the medical model. For example, in my research for this blog, I came across a site in French explaining the various models of disability - every reference they cited was non-French (and in English, more of which later).
  • To quote Disabled-World in regards to the medical model : “Medical care is viewed as the main issue, and at the political level, the principal response is that of modifying or reforming healthcare policy.” Getting back to the Spectrum News article, the central point of the French autism organisations quoted there was the lamentable state of autism policy and funding in France. i.e. the problems of autistics in France all come down to needing more care and more institutions, i.e. better “prise en charge”. This medicalisation of autism reaches up to the highest level of government. For example, in 2017 and to much fanfare, the French health ministry launched an autism site, but one that couldn’t pathologise autism more if it tried. The opening line on the “What Is Autism” page includes : “There is currently no specific medication for autism”. Throughout the site we find references to “prise en charge”, where the emphasis is on the need for therapy to be based on the recommendations of the H.A.S. (Haute Autorité de Santé, equivalent of the UK’s NICE), but there is no examination of the validity or need for these therapies in the first place. The underlying assumption is that of course, autists need to be treated. (Laurent Mottron has written on the French authorities’ reluctance to seriously examine the validity of the therapies they recommend for autism and to accept a lower standard of proof than they would otherwise.)
  • Because of the medical model, expertise on autism is located exclusively with medical professionals, the same way it would be for leukaemia or diabetes. As such, autists are not seen as credible authorities or points of reference on their own condition/identity, even by the majority of the parents’ associations. The witty and brilliant Josef Schovanec with his PhD in philosophy and multiple languages and the nearest France has to an emblematic figure like Temple Grandin, comments ironically in the introduction to his French translation of Stephen Shore’s “Autism for Dummies” (Autisme Pour Les Nuls) : “What a shock it must be for a French reader to be holding in their hands a book on autism written not by an “expert” but by someone who is actually autistic.” Though when it comes to autism in France, irony abounds. I recently received notice of a conference on inclusion for autists which doesn’t include a single autistic speaker, the paradox of which seems to have escaped the organisers.
  • Because of the above, medical professionals become gatekeepers to expertise and information, and even to autism itself. This, coupled with the widespread ignorance and misunderstanding of autism amongst these same “experts”, means that many autists, especially adults, are still being discouraged from pursuing a diagnosis, often on the most spurious of grounds. These range from “you can’t be autistic because you have a child” to one of the best I’ve heard, “you can’t be autistic because you work in retail”. Further - though see the above re communautarisme - self-identifying as autistic without an “official” diagnosis is not recognised or accepted in France, even amongst the autistic community, and within the diagnostic process itself, the lived experience of the autistic “patient” is often ignored.
  • The medical model is based on cure and treatment, where we treat what we see, i.e. the visible behaviours. So in France, autism is widely perceived as behavioural rather than neurological or cognitive. There is little or no thought given to what’s going on behind these behaviours, or of understanding them as responses to typically human feelings of joy, anxiety, confusion etc. You would never find anyone in France quoting Barry Prizant’s “There is no such thing as autistic behaviour. These are all human behaviours and human responses.” This vision also means that there’s little recognition of autism as something that goes on inside your head. For example, perseveration is rarely mentioned in connection with autism here, even though it’s one of the DSM-V diagnostic criteria.
  • The medical model “creates a culture of charity, since society can choose to support the person or not”. This gets back to what I touched on above re advocacy and leads to well-intentioned activists advocating for autistics in the same way they would for patients with terminal cancer : better treatment, treatment with respect, more facilities, funds for research etc. Most autism activists in France see autism as a deficiency that needs a cure and autists as people who need normalising. There is little or no advocacy based on the social model, e.g. advocating for society’s acceptance of autism as a variation in functioning rather than a disorder to be cured, and autistic advocates who do so, such as Hugo Horiot, are roundly and aggressively attacked.

==> **Language

“I had no language … which left me with no identity navigation tools.”

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson

Culture also means language, as language shapes how we understand our world including how we shape our understanding of autism. In this regard, le français has a lot to answer for.

French is a language with fewer words than English, though the only French person who ever acknowledged that to me without prompting was Hugo Horiot. Of course, there are still more than enough words to go round, so that difference won’t stop you going down to your local boulangerie and buying a baguette, nor even writing a novel about going down to your local boulangerie to buy a baguette. But it does mean that you approach speaking French differently to a language like English. For starters, you often need more words to say the same thing, as anyone who’s ever had to grapple with bilingual English/French page layout will confirm. But it also means that for some ideas, vocabulary is limited and this is where things start to get problematic.

Let’s imagine that you’re exploring your autism in the context of the social model of disability that we referred to above i.e., that the difficulties you face in going about your life in a non-autistic world are the result of you and your atypical neurology bumping up against attitudinal and environmental barriers. One of the keys to the social model is the differentiation between impairment, disability and handicap, e.g. “impairment is the abnormality itself, disability is the resulting restriction, handicap is the disadvantage a person experiences because of this restriction.” But if you’re trying to express this 3-way relationship in French, the cards are stacked against you from the start for the good and simple reason that you only really have one word for these three different ideas, and even this is a word that had to be borrowed from English : le handicap. To work backwards through these :

Handicap/le handicap : there are two problems straight away. The first is that this is a word that in French is generally only used in this context, so we lose the wider, benign sense, e.g. handicap in a competition or race. We also lose the verbal sense of handicap, i.e., that handicap is not just a thing, but it’s something that you do or is done. The verb “to handicap” apparently exists in French, but I’ve never come across “je handicape” or “vous handicapez” etc.

This is problematic enough when we use le handicap for handicap, but is even more so when we use le handicap as a translation of disability. After all, the whole point of the social model is that a disability is not necessarily a handicap. But in French, disability is by definition ALWAYS a handicap, these aren’t two separate notions. Further, as with handicap, we also lose the wider sense of the root word, i.e. to switch off or deactivate as in “Disable the force field Dr. Spock.” French actually has a word for this sense of disable : “désactiver”, but in France, someone with a disability is not désactivé, they’re handicapé. So we lose the sense of “disable” as something that you do, or in this case, that is done to you. So in French, disabled is something that you are, society and the environment have nothing to do with it. It’s true that some French disability advocates who are up to speed on the social model have started using the phrase “en situation de handicap”, which does kind of get around the problem, even if it takes 4 words to do so and still doesn’t differentiate between disability and handicap. However, it’s not a phrase in widespread use. For example, the French version of the U.N. Convention on Disability Rights uses le handicap/handicapé throughout, even though “en situation de handicap” is much closer to the intent of the original. (Though problems in translation are widespread in these U.N. and W.H.O. documents, to the extent that some passages are simply omitted as they’re effectively inexpressible in French.)

Impairment ? I ran this through a handful of English-French translators — around half gave “handicap”, which brings us back to the same issues we’ve looked at, in particular, that an impairment is not always a handicap. The other word that often comes up is : “déficience”. But there’s a gulf between deficiency with its normative notions of “you’re missing something” and the idea of impairment as an atypicality or a deviation from typical functioning.

In reality, ALL French vocabulary relating to autism is rooted in the medical model and/or a medical, pathologising terminology. Imagine you’re on the autistic spectrum and to help regulate stress or simply because it feels good, you flap your hands. Flapping is what flags do in the wind, or birds do when they move their wings up and down. The term is simply descriptive and without any real value judgement. Not so in French. This behaviour when it applies to someone on the spectrum would be referred to generally as une stéréotypie, or even more pejoratively, une bizarrerie, which needs no translation. The other word we find in French for this kind of behaviour is … le flapping, another term borrowed from English (we’re seeing a trend here) which is NOT used to refer to birds or flags and is reserved specifically for autists. So once again, we have a word that’s robbed of its general, benign sense, and is only used in relation to autism. In France, while we fall over ourselves to normalise autists through therapy and treatment, the language does the opposite, going out of its way to abnormalise us. By giving autism its own specific vocabulary distinct from everyday speech, we separate autists from the rest of the population. Language does what we once did with lepers.

This also brings us back to the social model again, where people are taken to be disadvantaged and excluded not just by physical barriers but by attitudinal ones, which includes by definition, language. It’s difficult to discuss autism in France in neutral terms, it’s either pejorative or framed within the medical model. As well as the terms we’ve touched on above, you’ll often come across pathologising expressions such as “souffrent d’autisme” (suffering from …) “vivant avec …” (living with …), and a phrase which is particularly common, “atteint d’autisme”, (afflicted or affected by …). Other terms from the medical lexicon such as “maladie” (sickness), “pathologie”, “symptomes” and “morbidité” are widespread, as are functioning labels : “autisme de haut/bas niveau”. (high/low level autism).

Finally, just to mention the use of person-first language. There’s a get-out-of-jail free card here, because in French grammar the noun always precedes the adjective : maison bleu, chien noir, trampoline rond. Thus an “autistic person” is always a “personne autiste”. However, that doesn’t stop widespread use of “personne avec autisme” (person with autism), without any recognition whatsoever that it’s a term that could be problematic.

Apart from these stigmatising and medicalising issues, the other main problem with everyone speaking French is that they’re not speaking English. Not a problem per se of course, you can still buy your baguette and write your novel, but a problem in having access to a wider, international discourse that’s carried out predominantly in English.

While there are important books on autism available in French : Grandin, Bogdashina, Vermeulen, Attwood, Donna Williams etc., the field is notable for the huge number of books that are NOT available. In that basket, and conspicuously absent in French is Steve Silberman’s Neurotribes, in spite of attempts by a number of people here to find a publisher willing to take it on. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. For example, none of the recent books from Damian Milton, Nicholas Chown or Luke Beardon are available in French, and it’s hard to see Melanie Yergeau’s new book — looking at autism and identity from the point of view of neurological queerness — not suffering the same fate.

The other problem is of course that the vast majority of academic publications are only available in English. So while many people in the field of autism here could talk to you about, say, Simon Baron-Cohen’s 1985 study on theory of mind which is available in French, very few seem aware of papers or studies that contest its validity, at least in the form that SBC proposed. There are French versions of both Kanner’s and Asperger’s original papers, but most autism studies available in French are biomedical or genetic and situate autism in a deficiency/pathology paradigm. Further, there’s pretty well zero awareness of what I think of as the Nouvelle Vague of autism research, much of it involving autistic researchers and commentators. For example, Damian Milton’s important paper on the Double Empathy Problem was published in 2012, but I would be surprised if you could find a single person in France who’s aware of it.

It’s not so much the absence of these specific texts which is problematic, it’s the absence of any discourse around the ideas that they explore. In France, ideas such as “autists lack empathy”, “autists are deficient in central coherence”, “autism is defined by a triumvirate of deficiencies” are taken as gospel truth, and like much gospel truth, engraved in stone. Not only is their validity rarely questioned, there’s often no awareness that it has been.

One idea that has particularly suffered is the modelling of autism through the neurodiversity paradigm. The absence of any substantial texts in French (Neurotribes for starters) plus the usual French wariness of ideas that are perceived to come from les anglo-saxons, has led to a fairly hostile reception. In particular, in some commentaries there has been a (deliberate ?) mistranslation of the word “cure” (guérison) as “treatment” (soins). So one of the guiding principles of neurodiversity, that autism isn’t a pathology and thus autism itself doesn’t require medical intervention, has been misrepresented to portray neurodiversity as a kind of politico-social movement whose rallying call is “no treatment for autists”. And as soon as that happens, French anti-communautarisme rears its head. We’re a long long way from neurodiversity as a model for public policy, such as the British Labour Party’s proposed “Neurodiverse Manifesto”.

Before moving on from language, one caveat : there is a certain amount of decent information available in French, often through French Canadian sources (e.g. Autcreatifs). But widespread awareness of this body of information in France itself is limited.

==> **Where We Are

Having said all that, there are some good people in France, including amongst those who aren’t on the autistic spectrum. There are even many here who accept that when it comes to autism, France is indeed 40 or 50 years behind. However, from what I can see, very very few of them really grasp the full ramifications (and that includes a sizeable percentage of the autistic population itself). It’s a kind of autism Dunning-Kruger, where people are largely unaware of just how deficient their understanding is.

Crucially, I don’t believe that (m)any of those engaged with autism understand that for all their good intentions, they’re seeing autism through the perspective of the medical model and that what passes for help and aid is geared around normalisation. Very few people in France would challenge the beliefs that autistic children need to be shoehorned into typical developmental paths, that any other paths are failures, and that the goal of treatment is the acquiring of neurotypical social skills. I don’t believe that anyone here would praise an autistic child for reaching an autistic developmental milestone such as learning to self-regulate through stimming - or even be remotely aware that they should or could.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that outside of France everything is hunky dory, nothing could be further from the truth. But there’s a fundamental difference here. The fact that autism-as-psychopathology continues to flourish 50 odd years after everyone else moved on is not just down to ignorance. It’s because of attitudes in French culture itself that these harmful ideas continue to fester unchecked. Sure, things are changing, but much of it is a chimera, with an increased focus on the “rights” of the autistic population, where that means rights as defined by the medical model : rights to access treatment, to be treated with dignity, etc. But this misses some key points.

Firstly that autists also have the right to NOT be treated for their autism : i.e. the right to live and thrive as they are, happy and fulfilled in their autistic selves.

Secondly, that arguing for autists’ rights doesn’t stop you seeing autism as a mental condition, invisible illness etc. When a leading politician used “autistic” as an insult, drawing on Larousse’s figurative definition of the word as a “denial of reality that leads to self-isolation and refusal to communicate”, he was roundly condemned - not because he was wrong, but because he was impolite.

Finally, who is it that gets to decide which (autistic) rights we focus on or how they’re exercised ? In France, it’s not the autistic population itself who makes those decisions. That power lies with an alliance of non-autistic gatekeepers : “We’ll defend your rights, but it’s for us to decide what those rights are.”

I’ll leave you with a story that the mother of an autistic girl posted on Social Media recently. For all the world’s ills, I don’t know that this could have happened in too many other western countries.

The child had been unwell and had become lethargic and dehydrated, so the mother took her to the emergency section of the local hospital. A doctor arrived, and the mother started listing the symptoms, going on to say that the girl was autistic. The doctor interrupted her with “I’ll just stop you there : we don’t treat autists.” (Je vous arrête, on ne soigne pas les autistes.) She was eventually able to find another doctor and get her daughter the care she needed. But … 2018 ?

Vive la France.

Copyright © Peter Crosbie 2018. All Rights Reserved.

==> References

==> **Culture

The Story of My Work : How I Became Disabled
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (2014)

Liberté, égalité, fraternité (English Wiki)

British National Identity and the Dilemmas of Multiculturalism
Eva-Maria Asari , Daphne Halikiopoulou & Steven Mock (2008)

Communautarisme (French Wiki)

NYANSAPO Festival : To Have the Nerve to be a Political and Autonomous Afro- Descendant Organization

En France les “Queer studies” au ban de la Fac
Florian Badou. Libération, 2016

Autism, Disability and Social Movements
Brigitte Chamak (2010)

Autism Spectrum Disorders in the European Union (ASDEU)

==> **Attitudes to Disability and Difference

Autism as a Disability

Definitions of The Models of Disability (Disabled World)

Autism Europe 11th International Conference

Disability Studies (English Wiki)

Social Model of Disability (French Wiki)

French Health Ministry Autism Site :

Autisme Pour les Nuls.
Stephen Shore et al. Trad. Josef Schovanec (2015)

The Medical and Social Models of Disability

==> **Language

Impairment, Disability or Handicap ?
This is based on the 1980 W.H.O definition though they now prefer “impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions”, see below.

Disabilities (World Health Organisation).
Worth comparing this to the French version, where they get around the limitations of terminology/discourse in French by simply omitting the entire first explanatory paragraph. Apparently “impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions” don’t exist if you’re French.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (French version) :

Larousse definition of autistic (fig.) : “Déni de réalité qui pousse à s'isoler et à refuser de communiquer.”


  

The Non-Degrading, Non-Demeaning, Semantic Tenor of the Contents of the Words – i.e., Prior to the Pleasures of Condescension
The Non-Degrading, Non-Demeaning, Semantic Tenor of the Contents of the Words – i.e., Prior to the Pleasures of Condescension
The Non-Degrading, Non-Demeaning, Semantic Tenor of the Contents of the Words [i.e., Prior to the Pleasures of Condescension]La teneur sémantique non dégradante, non avilissante, du contenu des mots [c’est-à-dire, avant les plaisirs de la condescendance]
Impairment (word from the ) refers to a problem with a structure or organ of the body. Impairement (est un mot ) désigne un problème s’agissant d’une structure ou d’un organe du corps.
Disability (word from the ) is a functional limitation with regard to a particular activity.
Activity Limitation
Deshabilité (est un mot ) est une limitation fonctionnelle en ce qui concerne une activité particulière.
« Limitation d’activité »
Handicap ( word from ‘hand in cap’) refers to an environmental factor preventing the filling of a normal life role.
Participation Restriction
Handicap (est un mot ) désigne un facteur environnemental empêchant de remplir un rôle de vie normal.
« Restriction de participation »

  

 

What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word* and not the other way around. The worst thing you can do with words is to surrender to them.” George Orwell   * – for the word’s content 

— · —
Connexités Lirossi

— · —
 

Commentaires

Logo de drastéon kaì mellētéon oudèn éti
Autism in France [Autists in France] : Why we’re 40 years behind. – Peter Crosbie, 2018 ※ « L’autisme ➽ [LES AUTISTES] EN FRANCE Pourquoi nous sommes arriérés de 40 années (…) LE PLUS GRAND PROBLÈME POUR LES AUTISTES EN FRANCE EST D’ORDRE CULTUREL » ※ Intégralement d’actualité 2022
jeudi 30 décembre 2021 à 02h24 - par  drastéon kaì mellētéon oudèn éti

Some cited sources and connectednesses

(also in      IMPAIREMENT ⊳ Impairment,    DESHABILITÉ ⊳ Disability,    HANDICAP from ‘hand in cap’.    —     MOTS avant les plaisirs de la condescendance. OMS Impairement (mot français, adopté en anglais : ‘Impairment’), Deshabilité (mot français, adopté en anglais : ‘Disability’), Handicap (mot anglais, emprunté en français)  —     WORDS Prior To The Pleasures Of Condescension. WHO Impairment (from the French ‘Impairement’), Disability (from the French ‘Deshabilité’), Handicap (in French: borrowed from English)   — Entirely Bilingual Article (h)).
  

The Non-Degrading, Non-Demeaning, Semantic Tenor of the Contents of the Words – i.e., Prior to the Pleasures of Condescension
The Non-Degrading, Non-Demeaning, Semantic Tenor of the Contents of the Words – i.e., Prior to the Pleasures of Condescension
The Non-Degrading, Non-Demeaning, Semantic Tenor of the Contents of the Words [i.e., Prior to the Pleasures of Condescension]
Impairment (word from the ) refers to a problem with a structure or organ of the body.
Disability (word from the ) is a functional limitation with regard to a particular activity. “Activity Limitation
Handicap ( word from ‘hand in cap’) refers to an environmental factor preventing the filling of a normal life role.
Participation Restriction
  • “WHO Health topics Disabilities” Dec. 4, 2018 Archive Web.Archive.Org/web/20181204035706/http://www.WHO.int/topics/disabilities/en/
    • « OMS Thèmes de santé Handicaps » Dec. 03, 218 Archive Web.Archive.Org/web/20181203201635/http://www.WHO.int/topics/disabilities/fr/
    • This is about the note :
      ❮❮ Disabilities (World Health Organisation).
      Worth comparing this to the French version, where they get around the limitations of terminology/discourse in French by simply omitting the entire first explanatory paragraph. Apparently “impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions” don’t exist if you’re French. ❯❯
    • “WHO Disability and Rehabilitation” June 07, 2002 Archive Web.Archive.Org/web/20020607063558/http://www.WHO.int/ncd/disability/index.htm “During the past two decades, beginning with the International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981, there have been significant changes in the concepts of disability and rehabilitation. The traditional, medical model of disability has developed to incorporate also social aspects. The limited participation in school, work and social activities experienced by disabled people is no longer viewed as a result of their impairments, but as a result of societal barriers to their participation. The rights of people with disabilities to have the same opportunities as others in their communities and societies are now well recognized. Many of these changes are the direct result of the increased activity and influence of people with disabilities. Events which contributed to the changes include the development of the World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons in 1982, the International Decade of Disabled Persons 1983 to 1992 and the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in 1993.”
      • “impairment, disability, handicap · In the context of the health experience, impairment is any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological, or anatomical structure or function. Disability is the restriction of performance of any activity within the range considered normal for a human being. A handicap is a disadvantage that limits or prevents the fulfillment of a role that is normal for a specific individual.” · Biomedicine ; Author Giora Kaplan, The Gertner Institute, Israel ; Available online 28 May 2005 · Pdf · ScienceDirect.com/science/article/pii/B012369398500267X · Encyclopedia of Social Measurement 2005, Pages 189-201 · DOI.org/10.1016/B0-12-369398-5/00267-X ·
        • “Biomedicine · Giora Kaplan, in Encyclopedia of Social Measurement, 2005 · Impairment, Disability, Handicap
          The International Classification of Impairments, Disability, and Handicaps (ICIDH), developed in the 1970s, was issued by the World Health Organization in 1980 as a tool for the classification of the consequences of disease and of their implications for the lives of individuals. This categorization is based on a totally different approach to disease, departing from all other medical classifications, and is conceptually much more psychosocially oriented. Sickness is seen as an interference with the individual’s ability to perform his/her accustomed social role and the functions and obligations that are expected of him/her. The sequence underlying illness-related phenomena can be extended as shown in Fig. 1. According to the World Health Organization, impairment from disease or injury is defined as any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological, or anatomical structure or function. The resultant disability is any restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being. A handicap is a disadvantage for a given individual, resulting from an impairment or a disability, that limits or prevents the fulfillment of a role that is normal (depending on age, sex, and social, and cultural factors) for that individual. A handicap may result from impairment without the mediation of a state of disability (e.g., a disfigurement). On the other hand, someone with a serious disability may be living a fairly normal life without being handicapped.” · ScienceDirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/international-classification-of-impairments-disabilities-and-handicaps
    • “World Health Organization. (‎1980)‎. International classification of impairments, disabilities, and handicaps : a manual of classification relating to the consequences of disease, published in accordance with resolution WHA29.35 of the Twenty-ninth World Health Assembly, May 1976” · ICIDH · Apps.WHO.int/iris/handle/10665/41003 · “Résumé : Presents a system for classifying impairments, disabilities, and handicaps with the aim of improving information on the consequences of disease. Three independent classifications are presented. Impairments are classified according to abnormalities of body structure and appearance or disturbances of organ or system function resulting from any cause (‎disturbances at the organ level)‎. The classification of disabilities reflects the consequences of impairment in terms of functional performance and activity by the individual (‎disturbances at the individual level)‎. Handicaps cover the disadvantages experienced by the individual as a result of impairments and disabilities (‎interaction of the individual with the environment)‎. Taxonomic structure and coding follow the system used in the International Classification of Diseases”
WHO 1980 ICIDH – Passages

“FOREWORD TO THE 1993 REPRINT · (…) Published comments on the ICIDH include such remarks as : "[The ICIDH] concepts provide the key to rational management of chronic diseases" ; at the same time, however, concern has been expressed that the ICIDH does not state clearly enough the role of social and physical environment in the process of handicap and that it might be construed as encouraging "the medicalization of disablement". (The term "disablement" is used here to encompass the full range of impairment, disability, and handicap.) (…)
Some problems identified in the use of the ICIDH
An important task in the revision of the ICIDH will be to clarify the role and interrelationships of environmental factors in the definition and development of the different aspects addressed by the ICIDH, most notably - but not exclusively - handicap.
A report of the united Nations Commission on Human Rights for its Forty-third Session on Human Rights and Disability encouraged WHO to revise the ICIDH and to consider more specifically the role of the environment in the development of the handicap process.
Much work has addressed conceptual developments for this topic, notably the proposals issued by the Canadian Society for the ICIDH on the development of the handicap process.
The role of the social and physical environment is briefly addressed in the original introduction to the ICIDH (see page ]4) :
« Handicap is more problematical. The structure of the Handicap classification is radically different from all other ICD-related classifications. The items are not classified according to individuals or their attributes but rather according to the circumstances in which people with disabilities are likely to find themselves, circumstances that can be expected to place such individuals at a disadvantage in relation to their peers when viewed from the norms of society. »
This will require elaboration in the revised version. The Handicap classification is a classification of situations and not of individuals : the word « circumstances » is to be considered as referring not only to statistical aggregates of individuals, but also to characteristics of the physical and social environment. (…)
Some proposed changes to the ICIDH
(…) An "umbrella" term is needed to encompass the spectrum of experiences linked to impairment, disability, and handicap : the term "disablement" has been suggested, but is not universally accepted. In some languages there appears to be no single suitable term.
The official French-language version, for example, uses "handicap" as an umbrella term, stressing that it does not cover a monolithic reality, but is the result of different levels of experience ; this version also uses a term signifying "disadvantage" for the third level of experience in the classification (as do the Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese versions). French-speaking Canadians, on the other hand, appear to prefer the word "handicap" for this third level and do not make use of an umbrella term.
Agreement on the use of an existing term or on the introduction of a new term will require much thought and discussion during the revision of the ICIDH.
INTRODUCTION [1980]
(…) The sequence underlying il1ness-related phenomena thus needs extension. This can be presented as
disease ==> impairment ==> disability ==> handicap
The nature of these different dimensions of the consequences of disease, their definition, and the basis for developing three separate classification schemes, will be considered in greater depth in the first section of this manual. (…)
[p. 14] Scope and structure of the manual
The manual contains three distinct and independent classifications, each relating to a different plane of experience consequent upon disease.
(a) Impairments (I code), concerned with abnormalities of body structure and appearance and with organ or system function) resulting from any cause ; in principle, impairments represent disturbances at the organ level.
(b) Disabilities (D code), reflecting the consequences of impairment in terms of functional performance and activity by the individual ; disabilities thus represent disturbances at the level of the person.
(c) Handicaps (H code), concerned with the disadvantages experienced by the individual as a result of impairments and disabilities ; handicaps thus reflect interaction with and adaptation to the individual’s surroundings.
Handicap is more problematical. The structure of the Handicap classification is radically different from all other ICD-related classifications. The items are not classified according to individuals or their attributes but rather according to the circumstances in which people with disabilities are likely to find themselves, circumstances that can be expected to place such individuals at a disadvantage in relation to their peers when viewed from the norms of society.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF DISEASE [p. 27]
(…)
Impairment
In the context of health experience, an impairment is any loss
or abnormality of psychological, physiological, or anatomical
structure or function

Two aspects of this definition need to be stressed. First, the term "impairment" is more inclusive than "disorder’" in that it also covers losses ; e.g., the less of a leg is an impairment, but not a disorder. Secondly, in reaching agreement on terminology with other international agencies, it has been necessary to make certain modifications to the definitions included in a preliminary draft of this manual.1 In the draft, functional limitations were regarded as being elements of disability, whereas they have now been assimilated with impairments ; this alteration helps to resolve boundary distinctions that originally lacked clarity.
Impairment represents deviation from some norm in the individual’s biomedical status, and definition of its constituents is undertaken primarily by those qualified to judge physical and mental functioning according to generally accepted standards. Impairment is characterized by losses or abnormalities that may be temporary or permanent, and it includes the existence or occurrence of an anomaly, defect, or loss in a limb, organ, tissue, or other structure of the body, or a defect in a functional system or mechanism of the body, including the systems of mental function. Being concerned to describe identity at a particular point in time, impairment is neutral in regard to a number of associated features, and this needs to be stressed. Thus impairment is not contingent upon etiology, how the state arose or developed ; both ascribed and achieved status, such as genetic abnormality or the consequences of a road traffic accident, are included. Use of the term "impairment" does not necessarily indicate that disease is present or that the individual should be regarded as sick. Equally, the deviation from the norm does not need to be perceived by the impaired individual, as should be clear from what has been said above about exteriorization. On the same grounds, a concept of latent impairment constitutes a contradiction in terms - the individual exposed to or harbouring an extraneous etiological agent of disease is not impaired ; impairment ensues only when the agent has initiated a reaction by the body so that pathological processes develop.
Disability
In the context of health experience, a disability is any restriction
or lack (resulting from an impairment) of ability to perform an
activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for
a human being

In providing the link between impairment and handicap, it is fairly easy for the concept of disability to appear somewhat vague, variab1e, or arbitrary. As already noted, however, functional limitation is now regarded as an aspect of impairment, and this should resolve most of the difficulties. Impairment is concerned with individual functions of the parts of the body ; as such it tends to be a somewhat idealistic notion, reflecting potential in abso1ute terms. Disability, on the other hand, is concerned with compound or integrated activities expected of the person or of the body as a whole, such as are represented by tasks, skills, and behaviours. (…)
Handicap
In the context of health experience, a handicap is a disadvantage
for a given individual, resulting from an impairment or a disability, that limits or prevents the fulfilment of a role that is normal (depending on age, sex, and social and cultural factors) for that individual

Three important features of this concept should be borne in mind :
(i) some value is attached to departure from a structural, functional, or performance norm, either by the individual himself or by his peers in a group to which he relates ;
(ii) the valuation is dependent on cultural norms, so that a person may be handicapped in one group and not in another - time, place, status, and role are all contributory ;
(iii) in the first instance, the valuation is usually to the disadvantage of the affected individual.
The state of being handicapped is relative to other people - hence the importance of existing societal values, which, in turn, are influenced by the institutional arrangements of society. Thus the attitudes and responses of the non-handicapped play a central role in modelling the ego concept, and defining the possibilities, of an individual who is potentially handicapped - the latter has a very limited freedom to determine or modify his own reality. In this context it is relevant to take note of differences in societal responses to visible as opposed to invisible impairments, and to serious as opposed to trivial disadvantages.
Handicap is characterized by a discordance between the individual’s performance or status and the expectations of the particular group of which he is a member. Disadvantage accrues as a result of his being unable to conform to the norms of his universe. Handicap is thus a social phenomenon, representing the social and environmental consequences for the individual stemming from the presence of impairments and disabilities. The essence of an adverse valuation by society is discrimination by other people, but the concept is, nevertheless, essentially neutral as regards its origins. Thus the individual’s own intention is of no immediate concern ; disadvantage can arise when the individual deviates in spite of his own wishes, but it can also develop when the deviation is inadvertent or the product of his own choice. The concept also assimilates phenomena such as invalidism or excessive dependence upon an institution.
(…)
Application of the concepts
Terminology
(…) Although too much can be made of the importance of semantic distinctions, the acid-test for a preferred nomenclature is whether it promotes practical benefits. The latter should come about as a clearer description of processes reveals to what extent and in what way problems may be solved.
Considerable care has been applied to the selection of descriptive terms in this manual, so as to reinforce the conceptual distinctions. This effort can be seen at two levels :
(i) Avoidance of the same word to identify an impairment, a disability, and a handicap. In colloquia1 speech there has been a trend to euphemism with words being debased as mental retardation first became mental disability and then mental handicap. This succeeds only in blurring the distinctions ; the disadvantage experienced by individuals with psychological impairments can vary, so that it is inappropriate to refer to a handicap as "mental". Thus the descriptive adjectives ’’mental’’ and "physical" may correctly be applied to impairments, but their use in relation to disabilities is loose and to handicaps quite unsuitable. It is perhaps vain to hope that the tide of careless usage can be reversed, but at least in serious discourse the logic of terminology should be exploited to reinforce the conceptual framework.
ii) In addition to seeking different descriptive terms, the use of different parts of speech also seemed to be appropriate. Thus for the qualities represented by impairments an adjective derived from a substantive is apposite, but for the activities included as disabilities a participle was deemed more suitable, the "-ing" ending emphasizing the dynamic aspect. An exhaustive consistency in this regard has not been possible, but a trend should be apparent. (…)
Deviation from norms
All three of the concepts relevant to the consequences of disease
impairment, disability, and handicap - depend on deviations from norms. The amount of deviation regarded as being present depends on the operation of a definition of the norm in question, be the specification implicit or identified. There are three approaches to such definition :
(i) For quantitative phenomena, such as body height, the exploitation of statistical concepts of "the normal" and of deviations therefrom is of some help. (…)
(ii) Normative views, such as those just indicated, are detennined by reference to some ideal. This approach to the norm implicitly relates to threshold phenomena. (…)
(iii) Drawing further on the theory of deviance, yet other norms are determined by social responses. These are relevant to some disabilities and to most handicaps. In general, these norms are more difficult to categorize reproducibly, other than by recourse to cumbersome and highly arbitrary methods such as those used for determining eligibility for benefits. However, the particular relevance of social norms in the present context is that they indicate that an individual’s perceptions his belief that he has a problem - or the identity that other people attribute to the individual can both give rise to disadvantage.
(…)
IMPAIRMENT [p. 47]
Definition
In the context of health experience, an impairment is any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological, or anatomical structure or function (Note : "Impairment" is more inclusive than "disorder" in that it covers losses - e.g., the loss of a leg is an
impairment, but not a disorder)
Characteristics
Impairment is characterized by losses or abnormalities that may be temporary or permanent, and that include the existence or occurrence of an anomaly, defect, or loss in a limb, organ, tissue, or other structure of the body, including the systems of mental function. Impairment. represents exteriorization of a pathological state, and in principle it reflects disturbances at the level of the organ
(…)
DISABILITY [p. 143]
Definition
In the context of health experience, a disability is any restriction or lack (resulting from an impainnent) of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered nonnal for a human being
Characteristics
Disability is characterized by excesses or deficiencies of customarily expected activity performance and behaviour, and these may be temporary or permanent, reversible or irreversible, and progressive or regressive. Disabilities may arise as a direct consequence of impairment or as a response by the individual, particularly psychologically, to a physical, sensory, or other impairment. Disability represents objectification of an impairment, and as such it reflects disturbances at the level of the person
Disability is concerned with abilities, in the form of composite activities and behaviours, that are generally accepted as essential components of everyday life. Examples include disturbances in behaving in an appropriate manner, in personal care (such as excretory control and the ability to wash and feed oneself), in the
performance of other activities of daily living, and in locomotor activities (such as the ability to walk)
(…)
Section 4 CLASSIFICATION OF HANDICAPS
Definition and characteristics …………………. 183
HANDICAP
Definition
In the context of health experience, a handicap is a disadvantage for a given individual, resulting from an impairment
or a disability, that limits or prevents the fulfilment of a
role that is normal (depending on age, sex, and social and
cultural factors) for that individual
Characteristics
Handicap is concerned with the value attached to an individual’s situation or experience when it departs from the
norm. It is characterized by a discordance between the
individual’s performance or status and the expectations of
the individual himself or of the particular group of which
he is a member. Handicap thus represents socialization of
an impairment or disability, and as such it reflects the consequences for the individual- cultural, social, economic, and environmental - that stem from the presence of impairment and disability
Disadvantage arises from failure or inability to conform to the expectations or norms of the individual’s universe. Handicap thus occurs when there is interference with the ability to sustain what might be designated as "survival roles" (see next page)
Classification
It is important to recognize that the handicap classification is neither a taxonomy of disadvantage nor a classification of individuals. Rather is it a classification of circumstances in which disabled people are likely to find themselves, circumstances that place such individuals at a disadvantage relative to their peers when viewed from the norms of society
(…)

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