Child with special needs

(Pierre Rocher) #1

We want to move to France from the UK.
Our son who is 9 know is autistic.How is the support over there and can it work in the south of france?

(Véronique Langlands) #2

Complicated. There is little effective provision for SEN in schools and the attitude to autism is still heavily influenced by outdated theories eg attachment etc and therapy is psychoanalytic rather than behavioural.

(stella wood) #3

I’m just wondering what your reason is, for moving to France… do you find that the UK support/help is inadequate ??

I had thought it was better in UK than here in France… but I may be wrong…

whatever… I think you will need a reasonable knowledge of French to help with all the paperwork etc regarding your son’s Special Needs… hopefully you are partway there already… :relaxed::relaxed:

(Véronique Langlands) #4

I agree Stella, I think provision for SEN in the UK is better than in France. Quite apart from anything else there isn’t a senco in every school.

(Pierre Rocher) #5

Thank you for all the info so far.Just waying up the options.We originally from South Africa and lived in a small village there with huge outdoor space.We just find the way of life and the outdoors stimulates him a lot more then here in the UK.
We know the schooling in the UK is better for them.He is Autistic(Mild).Need more info maybe from people who lives in France with Special Needs children?


(Véronique Langlands) #6

It is difficult to advise because autism is a spectrum, we don’t know your son, and so there are tremendous variations between people who have the condition, in terms of skills, capacities, how verbal someone is, how bothered by change, etc.
If you don’t already speak French it may be a lot more complicated for your son than it is for most other boys his age, even in mainstream school. FLE provision would have to be organised as well and that isn’t a given, unfortunately. You would be looking at mainstream school, the same with an ULIS, or an ITEP. They may not necessarily be appropriate for your son.
He may be offered SEGPA in secondary school because many schools have these but that is really low level practical education for children who are intellectually very limited and may not be what he wants or is suitable.

(Jane Jones) #7

Have a look at some of the french organisations that aim to work with autistic spectrum people. And generally provision for healthcare in France is better in major centres rather than rural areas, so could have a strong influence on which areas of France would be possible for you.

Have you thought of countries like Sweden or Germany?

(Geof Cox) #8

We are in the north of France but have some experience which might be relevant.
Our eldest son is very mildly autistic - in the UK he had lots of problems in school, but far fewer in a very good school here in France - we feel that the more formal learning style and stricter classroom discipline in France benefited him - though learning French, with the difficulty he sometimes has with any social interaction, was a struggle. (I know it’s a cliche, but he is, incidentally, brilliant at maths, and is currently heading to St.Andrews University in Scotland to study astro-physics.)
Our younger son has a more severe learning disability - not autism - and is supported by MDPH and SESSAD in school. He is in a mainstream school but in a special ‘ULIS’ class for many lessons - but joining the general classes for some subjects (including English!). MDPH is excellent, funds a one-to-one classroom assistant, and we have actually just been offered a budget to employ help at home too. SESSAD on the other hand is infected with the kind of old-fashioned post-freudianism noted by Véronique - and I do know this can be particularly challenging with autism.
Hope this helps - though as I think others have said a lot will certainly depend on the level/type of autism, the local schools, etc…

(Véronique Langlands) #9

I hope he enjoys St Andrews, it is a lovely place, not that I saw as much of it as I might have wished in the 5 years I was at school there!