Around a hundred children with multiple disabilities will return to school this year in dedicated classes in primary schools. The Secretary of State in charge of disabled people Sophie Cluzel announced, Monday, August 30, the creation of 5 new “Outsourced teaching unit” (UEE) in ordinary establishments, bringing to 8 the number of classes of this type in France. The goal: to create one per academy by 2023.
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The National Disability Charter estimates, according to data “Relatively old”, that around 20,000 children between 0 and 20 years old are affected by polyhandicap in France, defined by the Haute Autorité de santé as ” disabilities (…) with severe or profound motor and mental impairment “.
“We must give the choice”
These classes in ordinary school, Laura Goislot does not believe for a second. “It’s impossible, it’s never going to work. We are talking about children who have very severe cognitive and physical handicaps, who sometimes cannot walk or speak, who live with a pouch or a tracheotomy, can feel unwell or have a crisis at any time… ” she worries. Laura is the mother of Emmy, 10 years old and multi-handicapped, and creator of the Association for Families of Poly-handicapped Children. “We must stop wanting to integrate our children at any cost”, she slices.
Rather a question of equity for Sébastien Le Goff, director of Toddlers. His association manages one of the three classes already created in France, within the Anne Frank des Molières school, in Essonne. “These classes are essential, not to include at all costs but to give the choice to parents and children”, he assures. Classes take place there four mornings a week, in a class of 6 children who then have lunch in the canteen with the other students, and spend the rest of their time in a specialized institute.
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For children integrated into ordinary schools, Sébastien Le Goff claims to see real benefits, “Particularly in terms of sociability, management of the unexpected, of novelty”. He grants it, “these classes are not for all children. Depending on the severity of their handicap, their cognitive abilities, to integrate with others… some are happier in a specialized institute ”.
Specialized institutes overwhelmed
In fact, only a quarter of these children go to school, according to the health ministry. Most of them admitted to specialized medico-educational institutes, as there are around 190 in France. “Absolutely brilliant structures, which adapt to the needs of the child by offering him daily play or sociability workshops, and who also psychologically support the parents ”, testifies Laura Goislot.
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For associations, the important thing is therefore to provide the specialized institutes better with teachers and resources. Because the educational aspect is there “Reduced to a homeopathic dose, regrets Francis Roque, president of the association for the defense of people with multiple disabilities. At best, schools have one teacher for several dozen children, for a few hours a week… ”.
Even more problematic, there are not enough places in specialized institutes. “They are supposed to welcome children from 6 years old, but most of them do not have access before 8 years old, even 12 years old”, explains Laura Goislot. Before that, they live with their families. So “on becomes a nurse, we spend our lives in the CHUs. I stopped working since my daughter was born ”, she says.
A problem that should get even worse in this return. In February, France announced the end of the departures of disabled and multiple-disabled children in Belgium which, thanks to its highly developed infrastructure, welcomed nearly 1,500 French children in exchange for the payment of health care costs by social security. .