In Meaux, autistic children are taught in a so-called “normal” primary school

Since the beginning of the school year, Meaux has had a system of self-regulation to raise autistic children. ©Thibaut Faussabry/Illustration

Since 2018, the National Strategy for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders has made education of autistic students a priority, the government said. In the Ile-de-France region, 12 new devices opened back to school supporting nearly 90 autistic children.

Among these devices: only one is located in the town of Meaux. Primary school has been closed since last week Alan 1in the Beauval district, the premiere of Seine-et-Marne take advantage of a device self-regulationa new form of inclusive education inspired by the Canadian model.

The children are still at school in their ‘normal’ class with their peers, but benefit from ‘self-regulated’ education. Within the school, a team of professionals is on hand to guide the students to help them better control their attention, behavior and emotions throughout the school day.

“The best inclusive method”

In a school where self-regulation is taught, children learn to better understand and express what they feel and they practice working more independently. The general principles are: self-determination (decide for yourself) and metacognition (becoming aware of your own learning, mistakes and successes).

Students gradually become be able to control their emotions and reflect on their own learning process.

For Claire Compagnon, Interministerial Delegate for Autism Strategy and Neurodevelopmental Disorders:

The issue of access to school is not only about access to learning, but also about inclusion in society, now and in the future. The actions planned under the strategy are thus aimed at creating a more inclusive school. The ambition is to generalize the access of autistic children to school, to personalize their trajectories and to guarantee their continuity.

According to the inter-ministerial deputy, who will visit Alain 1 on Monday, September 1, self-regulation is ” the best inclusive method that responds to the needs of children in a relevant way”. An opinion shared by members of the Regional Health Agency (ARS) and National Education, also in attendance for this first department.

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Claire Compagnon (right), inter-ministerial delegate for autism strategy and neurodevelopmental disorders, went to Alain 1 primary school in Meaux to see the implementation of the new self-regulation system.
Claire Compagnon (right), inter-ministerial delegate for autism strategy and neurodevelopmental disorders, went to Alain 1 primary school in Meaux to see the implementation of the new self-regulation system. ©Laura Bourven/La Marne

A device to accompany other children

At the moment the Alain 1 school only welcomesa student with autism, 7 years old. “We have established a link with him since the start of the school year, we are testing teaching materials. We have also made the other students in the school aware of autism so that they are in the best conditions to learn,” explains the Public Medical-Social Institution (EMPS) in Ourcq, which works in the field to replace the device to implement.

in Meaux, a teacher like specialized educators and a psychometrician were recruited and trained to work with autistic children in self-regulation.

On Tuesday, September 6, the ARS sat in a committee to define the profiles that could become members of Alain 1’s school. “The intention is not to leave the child alone for too long in order to avoid stigmatization. You have to find a small group of students and gradually expand,” we explain to Claire Compagnon’s office.

The self-regulating device is designed to guide: ten children per location.

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