“The young autists demand special attention at every moment of their life. This is why we have specially trained our personnel (drivers and guides) in this type of transportation. Vocations have emerged… hitherto living in a closed circle, the situation of these children and their families became abundantly clear.”
At Mouans-Sartoux, in the Alpes-Maritimes province, the medico-educational institute (IME) Les Noisetiers is the only one in the department to welcome autistic children and adolescents. To scour the whole department for the 25 youths who live there in a semi-boarding school atmosphere, Les Rapides Côte d'Azur, a subsidiary of Veolia Transport, has organized tailor-made transportation, with seven drivers and six guides trained in the type of psychic and physical difficulties that they encounter. Over the months, bonds have been established.
In the facility, the association AFG, which manages the premises, offers each patient an individualized educational project, based on multidisciplinary activity. Within this carefully designed teaching, sports occupies a major place. This is because it helps to discover one's body, one's strength and one's weaknesses (and hence something about oneself), as well as to develop what autists have the greatest difficulty in doing: a relationship with others.
Athletics and ballgames
In addition to its 50m² sports room, where the physical education teacher has them perform dance, gymnastics, judo and the circus arts, the IME wants to acquire a multisport outdoor space reserved for group sports including ballgames, badminton, athletics and tennis. It therefore turned to all the partners who could help finance this costly project, which is potentially very important for the wellbeing of the young boarders.
Alerted to this need by the manager of Rapides Côte d’Azur, the structure dedicated to transportation of handicapped persons, Pierre Fiori (who became the project sponsor), fondation Veolia decided to aid the IME Les Noisetiers with a grant of 30 000 euros. More than many others, collective sports are in fact an excellent means to encourage autists to escape from their internal isolation.