the “yes, but…” of the French

Are the French in favor of inclusive schools? Yes, but leaving children with intellectual disabilities on the sidelines… With trisomy 21, Maeva has found her place at the regular school. She testifies.

Is the start of the school year included? After Unapei and the Defender of Rights (articles linked below), it is the turn of the French to advocate for a school open to all. “ To everyone “, really ? Not quite according to a Harris Interactive(1) poll published on August 29, 2022 as part of the “ #my place is in class and initiated by a group of ten associations. If the reception in mainstream school of children with motor disabilities is almost unanimous (91% in favour), the same cannot be said for the integration of children with intellectual disabilities, mental disorders and autism, who account for only 69% of the positive children. get opinions. The inclusive school, yes, but with variable geometry…

The key to gaining autonomy

On the other hand, eight in ten respondents believe that an inclusive school allows other children to ” become more observant and comfortable adults with disabilities Sigrid Baillon has been defending this postulate for more than fifteen years. Mother of Maeva, a young girl with trisomy 21, also works as a teacher and looks at the issue twice: “ We wanted our daughter to receive a normal education. This gave him autonomy. She even has more friends than her brother who doesn’t have an extra chromosome ‘ she says with a laugh. From kindergarten to CAP, Maeva therefore took a course “ classic “, with a passage in Ulis (Localized Unit for Inclusive Education) in the university.

Don’t bet everything on AESH

The young woman, who is now 19 years old, is registered in the CAP and says she is proud of her career: ” It hasn’t always been easy because I’m slower to understand “, she admits. But she sticks to following in class like the others, asks a question if she doesn’t understand an exercise, gets up earlier in the morning than her classmates to go to class… And her efforts pay off.” We talked a lot with the teachers and they always managed to adapt. Adaptation is also part of their job. », adds Sigrid Baillon, who, however, bemoans the lack of dedicated training. And to finish: We often think of an inclusive school through compensation when setting up AESH. They are, of course, essential, but we must go further. »

The glass ceiling of the inclusive school

More than 60% of those surveyed acknowledge that ” allocated resources are insufficient In addition, the study shows that the sense of progress shared by the French regarding the integration of the different types of disabilities has stagnated since 2019.” Much has improved in recent years, but there are still many actions to be taken. », Warns one of the collected testimonials. For the ten signatory associations, “ these results confirm the belief that the education of students with disabilities is everyone’s business: teachers, professionals, families “. In addition to the collective effort, the government is also called upon to ” reflect on the persistence of obstacles to the education of all students », investing resources in training (for 72% of the French) and in support through the presence of AESH (for 65%). In short, nothing new under the sun. France has been severely tried by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in September 2021 for breach of its obligations ‘, the associative collective recalls.

(1) Survey launched by ten associations: ANPEA, APF France handicap, Gapas, FCPE, General Federation of PEPs, FISAF, FNASEPH, PEEP Federation, Trisomy 21 France, UNANIMES.

“All reproduction and representation rights reserved.© This article was written by Clotilde Costil, journalist”

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