Disabled students in construction at the Victor Hugo School in Clermont-Ferrand

At the Victor Hugo Elementary School there is a taxi parade from 8.30 a.m. Most students from Ulis (Local Unit for Inclusive Education) arrive in medical vehicles. Esteban comes from Vertaizon with his mother.

He is one of the children who inaugurated the device in 2019. Without Ulis, he would have been looked after five days a week by the Vertaizon medical and educational institute. Today he is in school almost continuously, only two afternoons a week at the IME and has time in the morning to be accepted into a CP class.Relaxation time before lunch for Axel, Lucas, Esteban and Victor (from left to right).

“It’s important because Esteban works a lot with facial expressions,” says Jessica, the mother. He sees what the other students are like, what they do, and tries to be like them. »

The Ulis of the Victor Hugo School is aimed at children with multiple disabilities who combine a severe intellectual disability and a severe physical disability. It was opened to give continuity to the ulis of the technical school for motor handicap Chanteranne, which has been caring for 3 to 7 year olds since 2008.

In France, there is already schooling for children with multiple disabilities, in teaching units that are set up in schools and linked to medical and social structures. But the way to school from Clermont is unique. It is supported by National Education in partnership with the Association of Parents of Students with Motor Disabilities and Dys (APEHMD) and Clermont-Ferrand Town Hall.

“Students are part of a class and we welcome them into the system as we go
learning time that they cannot follow in class,”

explains Alexandre Crouzet, teacher of Ulis. So much for the theory. In reality, “these children are essentially with me and I will send them to classes when the time is right and we have taken care of their well-being.”

In the heart of the school, Ulis has three wheelchair-accessible rooms with direct access to the canteen.

Twelve children are registered

but they are seldom there at the same time. They are between 7 and 11 years old and are followed by institutions (IMP from Clairefontaine, CMI from Romagnat, IME from Vertaizon…) or medico-social services from Puy-de-Dôme.

For Alexandre Crouzet, the challenge is first to “develop methods of communication, understanding and reparation”.

“After that, it’s up to the students. Some we started reading, we do a little decoding, we count, we work on the naming…”

Each educational project is thought out globally, then the activity is adapted to the child’s abilities. This organization requires careful preparation. It is mainly due to the presence of the seven AESH (accompanying children with disabilities). It is enough for one of them to be absent to destabilize the Ulis or erase a lesson lock-in time.

“All students should be able to go to class. It’s not because I don’t have enough AESH. Nevertheless, it is important to develop cognitive skills. They all have something to grasp, the atmosphere of the class, a listening time, socialization…”

Alexandre CrouzetThe teacher has been able to measure the progress of his students for three years. “A child needs to be stimulated all the time to be in the midst of effective partners. Our students have fun with the other friends of the school, the students come to them, they go for walks, they tell stories. All this allows them to develop cognitive skills. When they are locked in centers with peers who have the same flaws as them, there is no longer a model! »

Agnès Clermont, director of the school and teacher at CP, saw Esteban transform into her class during the time of recording.

“He comes for the rituals, he knows his place, he knows what to do. He’s really in a student attitude. »

His parents also saw how he developed. “He manages to focus on certain exercises, his mother confirms. Now he sits in his bed at night and has a story read to him. »

At the end of the year, Esteban will leave the Victor Hugo School and move to the Saint Exupéry College in Lempdes. Here, the National Education System opened an extension of the system for 12 to 16 year olds at the beginning of the 2021 school year.

The specialist house for people with disabilities decides on admission and is validated by the academic management of the state education service.

The morning work is rhythmic and ritualized. At 9:10 learning workshops.

At 9.30 a.m. roll call: who is in the school? Who is home? (Photo) At 9.45 understanding of an album. After the break, “we adapt to their exhaustion,” explains Alexandre Crouzet. For some children, the daily program also includes time for the involvement in class and the intervention of psychomotorists, educators, physiotherapists… This morning, Axel does not participate in all the rituals, he is in a room next door with the speech therapist. Lucas is in class with CE1-CE2 students. He will return sooner than expected to calm down after “a build-up of pressure”.

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The students of the Ulis system are like the others. Sometimes they go with friends, sometimes they go alone. There are always caring children willing to play with them. Or ready to push Elijah’s chair. “We are creating future generations of adults who are sympathetic to disability,” notes school principal Agnès Clermont, believing that “Ulis has a positive impact on everyone”.

“Having this device in school gives us a different perspective on these children,” confirms Victor Lafarge, CE1-CE2 teacher, whose class welcomes Lucas. “He doesn’t do his activities in his corner, he’s really involved in learning. It is convenient to have the Ulis device. It’s super flexible. If the student needs to leave the classroom and go back down into the device, they go downstairs. »

Enjoy the meal

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