Béatrice Descamps-Latscha

Children Can Learn — Despite Disabilities and Illness Publication date : February 4, 2010

A society's progress can be measured by the efforts made to integrate the disabled. In France, although the number of disabled children in the school system has risen, it remains exceedingly low. This book examines the unique pedagogical experience of the French organisation “Votre école chez vous” which for fifty years has provided home schooling for children with physical or behavioural disabilities. Besides leading to a wider reflection on the essential values of education, the success of “Votre école chez vous” should encourage other initiatives for children whose serious disabilities exclude them from regular schools.

The ideas guiding “Votre école chez vous” are straightforward: to teach, to transmit whatever the cost, to adapt in order to lead the child out of his isolation, to give him confidence and reasons to involve himself and trust in the future. Studying can sometimes hinder the evolution of disease. The challenge of learning enhances both student's and teacher's self-esteem. It offers commitment, hope and renewed confidence for parents seeking solutions adapted to their children, and for anyone who is attached to the humanistic dimension of education.

• In France 20,000 disabled children are not given any schooling.

• This example of home schooling for disabled children offers hope for their parents, many of whom are actively engaged in seeking solutions.

• A reflection on education's humanistic values.

Béatrice Descamps-Latcha is a senior research fellow at Inserm (French National Institute for Health and Medical Research), a member of the “Hands On” educational project and president of a French home-schooling association, “Votre école chez vous”.

Yves Quéré is a physicist, a member of the French Academy of Sciences and vice president of “Votre école chez vous”.