Background to the programme
In France, 239,160 children with disabilities attend school, including 7,000 with dyspraxia. The massive increase in their schooling has given rise to a significant need to develop specific tools and resources in order to facilitate their inclusion in school.
It was to meet these needs that the association Le Cartable Fantastique has been created in October 2010.
Objectives of the programme
- Provide children with the means to develop their full academic potential without being hindered by their disabilities.
- Re-establish the equality of opportunity and contribute to providing access to education for all
- Facilitate the inclusion of children with disabilities in school, but especially dyspraxia, and promote the implementation of the law of February 2005 according to which all children with disabilities can be enrolled in a school near to their home.
The association has set up an online resource centre that consists of:
- Appropriate educational resources: textbooks, digital exercises ...
- Tools to enable the student to compensate for their disability while working in the classroom or at home
- Resources for adults so that they can adapt the school materials themselves for their children/students/patients.
All the resources are based on identifying children's needs, are relevant in terms of medical-science and pedagogy and are tested before they are put on line.
The association also carries out a general expert scientific project on dyspraxia: academic and public conferences, relaying information to the website, (co) writing articles and books ...
Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions
- More than 500,000 visits to the website in 2014
- More than 5,000 users registered on the platform for creating tailor made exercises online
- 10 appropriate textbooks which comprise more than 10,000 exercises.
- More than 300 suitable children's books, including 170 put freely online without copyright.
- Effect on the users:
-> Respect for the individual: recognition of the academic potential of every child, regardless of disability
-> Autonomy, evolution, free choice in terms of compensation
-> Improved well-being, level of education, access to culture, qualifications.
- Effects on the families:
-> Respite through the help brought from the resources, decreased sense of isolation
-> Taking charge of aspects of school leaves more room for other areas of family and social life
- Effects on teachers:
-> Relief through the chance to better support students with disabilities through appropriate resources
-> Decrease in feeling incompetent vis a vis taking charge of students
The innovative character of the project comes from the close cooperation between researchers in cognitive science and practitioners in the field who are involved in including students with disabilities in school. It brings together the medical and scientific expertise brought by researchers with the educational expertise brought by teachers and trainers.
Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme
- INSERM Unicog Laboratory
- Mais Fantastique Dyspraxia Federation
- CERENE Schools specialises in working with children with learning disorders: using tools from Cartable Fantastique and participating in the reflection on these tools
- Votre Ecole Chez Vous association school and college
- Regional Centre of Educational Documentation in Champagne-Ardenne
Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :
- In light of the law of 1 August 2006 and its implementing order concerning the disability exception for author's copyright, the association cannot legally distribute textbooks and books that it adapts, so children with dyspraxia cannot benefit from the disability exception.
- Cartable Fantastique's activities also depend on the evolution of society's view of people with disabilities and especially the apprehension of educational establishments in implementing support materials for a disabled student. Tensions exist around notions of equality and equity leading teachers to remove computers or teaching assistants during inspections.
Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :
- The association runs a policy which has led to the preparation of new texts that will allow the association to legally distribute the adapted books after an application for approval to the Ministry of Culture.
- A large part of the resources produced and distributed by Le Cartable Fantastique are not subject to author's copyright.
- The association works on stereotypes associated with disability within the school establishment and in particular on the idea that a disabled child is not necessarily a student with learning difficulties
Suggestions for future improvement :
- Hire more employees: educational coordinator, development and communication's manager, creator of adapted educational resources, general assistant
Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :
- The association's approach: begin by identifying needs in the field, create resources to respond to them, with the view of both cognitive scientists and teachers, test the resources in the classroom, and if they are useful, put them online.
- The association is the only organisation to meet these specific needs
- Caroline Huron is recognised as a dyspraxia specialist which provides an important guarantee of credibility.
- Proactive approach to make the resources known among teachers: Information campaigns, conferences, conferences online ...
Ideas for basic or applied research topics, that could be useful to the programme :
What is the impact of the support tools and educational resources that are adapted to the academic success of students with disabilities?
Is the teacher training sufficient to change their practices and their opinion of students with disabilities?
What are the means to be implemented in order to change their practice and opinions?
Huron, C. L’enfant dyspraxique : Mieux l’aider à la maison et à l’école. (The child with dyspraxia: Better to help them at home and at school) Odile Jacob (2011)
To know more
Dyspraxia is less known yet as common as dyslexia. It could therefore affect one child per class. This disorder disrupts coordination and movement. Children with dyspraxia cannot write effectively which severely handicaps them in a school where children s