Special schools and services are for pupils with special educational needs who, due to their mental, emotional, sensorial or motor issues, are unable to attend mainstream education. Professionals also provide support for parents or teachers in the event of academic, pedagogical, educational and/or psychological issues in relation to the child.
There are currently 14 special schools, organised into regional centres and specialist institutes. The system also includes multi-disciplinary teams made up of qualified people providing tailor-made care and support for pupils in need of additional support measures. The Special education service works closely with the Speech Therapy Centre (Centre de Logopédie) which cares for deaf children, those who are hard of hearing or have speech disorders.
Children are referred to special schools at the recommendation of the National medical-psychological schooling commission (Commission médico-psycho-pédagogique nationale) and with the approval of the parents of the children in question. Parents do, in fact, have the right, and the responsibility, to choose the form of schooling that they believe to be the most appropriate for their child – i.e.:
- full integration of children with disabilities into mainstream education;
- partial integration of children with disabilities into mainstream education for some activities, in addition to attendance of a special school;
- attendance of a special school;
- attendance of a special school abroad.
The small number of pupils in special education classes ensures personalised teaching, with the subject being adapted to the special educational needs of each pupil. Groups are supervised by school teachers, educationalists, educators, male or female nurses and other socio-educational or rehabilitation workers.