A speech therapist at school

In recent years, teachers have seen a slew of pathologies and disorders sweep through their classes. Dyslexia, dysorthography, dys-ce or dys-that, school phobia, precocity, developmental disorders, attention disorders (with or without hyperactivity please). My child is "slow", "dreamy", "anxious", "tired" (yes, above all, do not tire him!) ...

Families are often exhausted by the obstacle course they have to face to make it clear that their child is "not like the others". But what they don't know is that teachers don't receive any training to deal with all of these cognitive peculiarities. And for good reason: they all come under RE-EDUCATION. The teacher cannot therefore educate and re-educate at the same time. School cannot be both the place of knowledge and the place of remediation or adaptation.

I have been around these troubles for twenty years in my liberal speech therapy practice. I have received all the idle parents, all these children exhausted from not being able to make it or going from professional to professional to find out what they had. As if they had caught a disease ...

I accompanied them on their rehabilitation journey but I always had this question in my mind: how can a teacher, in his overcrowded classes, take care of the personal disturbance of each? And in the face of the increasingly vindictive complaints of parents, how can the child be understood as a unique and exceptional being?

From 2014 to 2019, I went through the other side of the looking glass. I became a teacher at the Independent School Group Candide in the South and all my questions resurfaced with, this time, the obligation to find an answer.

I still don't have any answers because the key to teaching is precisely to be able to feed everyone in the way that suits them best. But, I was able to experiment with Candide what promoted the well-being of the children.

In the first place, it is obvious that the reduced workforce is the first key. 15 students in a class give you the opportunity to question each one, to address each other during class hours. Concentration is much better in children when they know that they will be able to participate as many times as they want and that they will be interested in them.

Then, the second evidence comes from the requirement that Michèle Bourton wanted in the application of school programs. We don't skim over them because we don't waste time having students copy lessons for hours. We therefore have time to train them, to have them write and read. Have you ever seen an athlete achieve a performance without training? Never ! It's the same for the students. At a time when our society bases all its arguments on ease and idleness, we advocate the opposite and we know that it works!

As a speech-language pathologist, I have always explained to my little patients that their progress is only due to the hard training they do every day. They would need a lot of courage not to give in, but the results would encourage them. On a daily basis, this implies that the family is present and can help their child to organize and take charge at home. This step is essential.

At Candide, we always insist on this school-student-parents triangulation. Impossible to function otherwise. And I believe that this is what is sorely lacking in the teachers of the traditional school for lack of means of course. In our small school / college, (75 students in 2019), we necessarily communicated more easily with families who wanted a meeting and this link reinforced the feeling of security in the child.

In Candide, we also had our share of families who left us their child arguing that with 390 € per month, we could well educate him entirely! Tired, the parents hope that someone will take over but they could quickly overwhelm this new system if the results were not there. However, we are not a structure that heals pathologies! We can simply help better than in the traditional system for the reasons mentioned above. Fortunately, these families are not legion! And the meteoric progress of most children delighted us every day.

Parents are therefore at the heart of evolution and we need them to establish the framework in which the child will know how to evolve. A parent who contradicts or challenges the teacher will see his child's chances of success diminish and even disappear. Since the closure of the Candide school group in Vaucluse, we have received messages from parents asking us to reopen the structure but we will not do so in L'Isle sur la Sorgue.

Today, our experience brings us certainty and it risks making a certain number of readers jump: work and educational framework work together to promote the success of our students. We require them to work and are not afraid to "tire" them. We ask them not to rely on their troubles for the excuse of doing nothing. We ask families to encourage them rather than pity them and help them figure out how to adjust to the world. Paramedical rehabilitators are wonderful vectors for finding solutions and compensations for various disorders. Effort must once again become a quality to be developed.

In the educational configuration of our establishment in Vaucluse, we noticed that many troubles ceased to be expressed with as much force as before, quite simply because we put the child to work with firmness and kindness!

It is in this vision of hope that the speech therapist and the teacher that I am find their place.

Céline BRUSA, mai 2019

Last edited: 24/11/2020