French Education

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integrating a child with asperger's syndrome

We are planning to move over to France (Charente) early next year with our son who is currently 7 years old and has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Although he is managing very well at our local village primary school we are concerned how he will settle if we move him to France. We would be very interested in making contact with any parents in a similar position who have moved across. We have read views regarding the French education system on many forums and have some concerns so before we finalise plans we want to ensure that we are making the right choice for our son.
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Re: integrating a child with asperger's syndrome

This question has been asked before though some time ago.
Whilst waiting for someone to come along who might have more recent info the link I found is :

and the french site mentioned is :    - it seems they might have some info in English.

Edit : aahh no they don't, the English bit is still under construction.


Computing - it's another world
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Re: integrating a child with asperger's syndrome

As far as I know there's nothing equivalent to the statementing procedure in France.
So I don't think aspergers is recognised here as in UK as a reason to be classed as having special educational needs.
You know your son and his problems better than anyone - how do you think he would cope in a school situation where all the other children and  the teachers speak french? He may have a gift for languages, or he may not.
I've found elsewhere that some areas of France have better provision for children with problems than others - you need to research this in the place you intend to live.

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Re: integrating a child with asperger's syndrome

I have no first-hand knowledge of this, though I  worked in French schools as a supply teacher as few years back.

There is as mind-set in France motivated by the noblest of intentions and based on the idea of égalité, which is often referred to as les valeurs républicaines.
This dates back to the Revolution, and has been much changed and used by all sorts for their own particular ends, but the problem is that tends to equate equal with same, so rather than speaking of giving different children an  equal chance to develop in  their own different  ways, there is a often an emphasis on every one following the same programme with no distinctions permitted.

This is of course an extreme version, but as Patf has said you need to research the attitudes of the schools in the area where you intend to live, as vestiges of this attitude are all over.
I never encountered sets, streaming or any type of approach which let the children learn at their own pace or in their own fashion.

That said this was over 10 years ago.

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.
- Bertrand Russell
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Re: integrating a child with asperger's syndrome

Many thanks to those that have replied, it is very much appreciated.
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Re: integrating a child with asperger's syndrome

We had plenty of problems, some with our eldest and lots with our youngest son.

Is your french up to dealing with french teachers and health workers and who so ever else you'll need to deal with?

I realise that the law changed in about 2005 and children with handicaps were supposed to have access to main stream education. I can never remember seeing where the teachers were going to be well trained to deal with other than 'normal' children. And I use the word 'normal' as until not that long ago, the teacher training was at the 'Ecole Normale' now the IUFM. And they were trained as to what lessons to give and little else.

I have lots of experience of clueless teachers being unable to cope with someone who did not fit  into the system. Hopefully it is better now.

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Re: integrating a child with asperger's syndrome

Now that is almost interesting, the former Prime Minister's welsh wife being the Patron (Marraine).

In France one is not allowed to change one's name, the one on the original birth certificate is the one that is official. So would a welsh lady's parents really have spelt her name on her birth certificate as Pénélope, rather than Penelope?????? I cannot help but wonder.

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Re: integrating a child with asperger's syndrome

carl, as you will be able to pick up from this and other similar forums there has been a dramatic drop off in younger Brit families moving to France in recent years due to the economic crisis, and many if not the majority who moved out in the boom years from 2001 to 2008 have left. Hence the very low level of new threads in the education section.
The relevance of this to your question is that unless you have employment lined up, statistically the odds are on you returning to the UK if you cannot make a living in France and you have to ask yourselves what impact that disruption would have on your son. Also it might be worth taking advice from suitably qualified UK based health professionals on this issue.
Several years ago when there were more parents with children at French schools contributing to the forum I seem to recall that the general consensus was that provision in France for children with special needs, including Aspergers, could be somewhat lacking especially in rural areas.
These days most Brits permanently resident in France and members of this forum moved to France as retirees and therefore fall into in the grandparents age category!
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