Autism: an update on our activities

For 25 years, we have been helping people with autism to flourish. This autumn, we will continue to support digital projects linked to autism. At the same time, we will also be working to promote their social and societal integration by means of practical projects. We talk with Pascale Paturle, manager of the health philanthropy:
autism digital social and sociétal integration

What are the next steps for autumn 2016?

“We are going to continue with the autism and digital technology dynamic. We launched this initiative three years ago and it appears that we were pioneers in this field in France. We really want to continue down this road with a call for projects regarding digital tools for people with autism, as well as touring France with the Tsara application, to build its reputation. The FIRHA (international foundation for applied autism research) call for projects regarding autism and digital technology is also coming to an end. Those are the three major projects for autumn 2016.”

Besides digital technology, what are our other levers for action?

"Our objective is to be innovative. We have demonstrated this, and continue to do so, in the fields of digital technology and autism. However, we are also working on a relatively unknown side of autism, which is social and societal integration: through accommodation and work, as well as leisure. Often, people with autism are based in health care facilities and have no family life. Now, the idea is to get people with disabilities out of specialised institutions to allow them to experience conventional environments. This is possible, as long as locations are designed and adapted to support their well-being."

tsara  digital 2016 education orange foundation
autism digital  2016 foundation orange
social and societal integration orange Foudnation

Which projects are we supporting?

“We have some fantastic work integration projects, such as the Novandie plant (Andros Group). This project involves people with “Kanner’s autism”, i.e. people who do not have high-functioning autism. It is clear that, by adapting the working environment, these people are able to work in the same way as everyone else. Their arrival changed the team dynamic and introduced new methods of working. The workers involved in the project are employed on permanent contracts.

Apart from work, we are also focusing on societal integration. Accommodation, which we have funded, is made available to workers in the community where the factory is based. The residents have been educated about autism, to allow the workers to integrate fully into the community.

Outside of the workplace, we are working on other forms of integration, such as sport for example. This is extremely important as people with disabilities are generally directed towards specialist sports facilities. Our approach is quite the opposite: to enable people with autism to use conventional sports clubs by ensuring appropriate support and good organisation.

We are running this project in partnership with the ASPTT. An initial experimental phase was carried out in 2015 and the results were very good. Integrating a child with autism into a group of children practising a sporting activity allows them to flourish. During 2016-2017, four new ASPTT sports clubs (Marseilles, Toulouse, Rouen and Strasbourg) will take part in this project.

We are also working on cultural integration in partnership with APTE, the autism, educational therapy and piano association. The idea is to integrate young people with autism into music or theatre schools or places where they can play music, with appropriate support in all cases. Lastly, we have a fantastic project in Toulouse with the organisation WITOA, which has set up a toy shop with young people with Asperger’s syndrome. The unique thing about this project is that the store has a 3D printer which the young people with autism can be trained to use and subsequently replace the missing parts of certain toys.”

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