By Emma Gomez
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It’s snack time at school Maurice Gerard to Mele-sur-Sarthe (Orne). Three kindergarten children sit down, not without difficulty, while their teacher, accompanied by one specialized teamtake care of them.
In appearance, there is nothing that sets them apart from other children. Yet all three were diagnosed with one autism spectrum disorder (ASD), even before going to kindergarten.
Adapt to different needs
To be monitored in their learning while attending school, these three children joined an autism education unit in kindergarten (UEMA).
Opened in November 2021the purpose of this class of three students is to “promote inclusion in the general environment”, explains Adele Leliard, teacher. “We adapt to the children’s needs while following the kindergarten program: art, music, sports …”
“Each individual session lasts between 5 and 15 minutes,” says the professor. To hold the child’s attention and motivate it, the team uses amplifiers. “It’s a reward system tailored to individual preferences.” It can be food, bubbles like a song. “The goal is for them to always succeed,” he recalls Adele Leliard.
A complementary team
At school, they are followed daily by one psychologista Occupational therapista psychomotor therapista special educatorthree medical-psychological aidsall trained in autism.
“The interest is to avoid follow-up outside,” he clarifies Cecilie Thomas, the team’s psychotherapist. “Here the psychotherapist comes to the children and not the other way around. The advantage of this team?” To be able to meet eyes and thus be more reactive “.
Parents and team build together a personal project for each child, to provide the best support according to their needs. Meetings are held at home to structure this support.
Some have not yet acquired Language, a point where the team works together. “There is a child who speaks but does not understand orally. You teach others to communicate, ”he says Emilie Besnardspecial educator.
A special event
To promote their inclusion, students are mixed with the school’s other children along the way depression and at noon.
The goal is to enable these children to subsequently become integrated a regular class. “We also do reverse inclusion,” he explains Adele Leliard. Three or four students from other kindergarten classes sometimes come and mingle with this particular class “during collective work, activities, or during snacks.”
The layout of this class is specifically for the needs of autistic children. “We have a corner for directed activities, separated by clauses to allow them isolation,” explains Sarah Deguernel, medical and psychological help. A motor area, a quiet corner, a room for nap, another for games, “where they learn to play, by imitation”.
To UEMA in Orne
The UEMA system in ordinary kindergartens was recommended by the 3rd Autism Plan (2013-2017), which prescribed the opening of at least one UEMA per child. department. In Orne, there are now two: The first opened in Argentan in 2017. In order for an autistic child to join the device, he must have a diagnosis and live less than 40 minutes from school. These classes are located in so-called “regular” schools and accommodate a maximum of seven students aged between three and six years.
In early September two other children joins the class that can accommodate up to seven students. “There is a real need to welcome these children,” says Adèle Leliard. “UEMA avoids overhandicap”.
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