Immersion in the heart of a school for students with dys disorders

In Eysines, in the inner suburbs of Bordeaux, a school reserved for dys children opened last year. About twenty students, from CM2 to 3e, are welcomed there. The establishment intends to meet the needs of pupils in great difficulty in the traditional school system.

Passing in front of this large building, which has just been renovated, it is impossible to suspect that it houses a school. And for good reason: located in Eysines (33), Edeys bears no resemblance to a school in the classic sense of the term. Almost nothing.

In this non-contract establishment, we follow the National Education program, adapting the methodology from A to Z to dys children (dyslexic, dyspraxic, dyscalculic…).

A school founded by parents

In France, schools specializing in dys disorders can be counted on the fingers of one hand. This year, Edeys welcomes 18 students aged 10 to 15, divided into two classes (3rd and 4th cycle). It was the parents of one of them, Sacha, who decided two years ago to create an establishment adapted to his needs.

“He is dyslexic at a very high level, it has always been very complicated for him to follow at school”, remember Eric and Stéphanie Bouget. After two chaotic years in a classic college, they decide with a couple of friends to create Edeys to allow Sacha and other dys children to benefit from personalized follow-up. “The problem of the college is that there are lots of different interlocutors, it becomes a lion’s den for dyslexics”, explain the founders.

The Edeys d’Eysines school. // © Raphaëlle Orenbuch

“Find well-being at school”

In September 2021, the school makes its first start and experiments a method and lessons specific to the disabilities of its students. The teachers are only four per class and each teach several subjects to create links and get to know the children better.

“The idea was to allow students destroyed by the traditional school system to find well-being at school”, testifies Olivier Le Pape, the director of Edeys and science teacher.

Adapted lessons

And to help them regain their self-confidence, the educational team decided to take a step aside. If the National Education program is followed, it is above all the benevolence and the listening of the student that are put forward, all thanks to small numbers. “In one year, we have seen a big evolution for some students: they are less in revolt and confrontation with the teacher”, analyzes Anastasia, teacher of French and history.

In his classroom, the 11 cycle 4 students (5th, 4th and 3rd) are installed in an arc around the blackboard. Everyone has a computer provided by the school with voice dictation software and spell checkers. “IT tools will become a crutch for them, they are real tools of compensation”, explains Anastasia.

That morning, the teacher offers a “negotiated dictation” to the students: she dictates a sentence to them, displays everyone’s answers on the blackboards and discusses errors with them. “The goal is to understand the logic of the language, you have to create a mechanism for them to remember the rule,” she explains.

Digital tools are used to facilitate learning.
Digital tools are used to facilitate learning. // © Raphaëlle Orenbuch

Organized days

To support students, an occupational therapist is present one morning a week, and a speech therapist and a neuropsychologist come regularly to the premises. “These are students who are more tired,” explains Olivier Le Pape.

The days are therefore arranged: the main subjects, such as French and maths, are given in the morning, while the afternoon is reserved for sport or plastic art. Another particularity: the homework is done during school time, with the teachers, to save students the long days and stress of homework.

Students from the Edeys school.
Students from the Edeys school. // © Raphaëlle Orenbuch

Multiple disorders

If the pupils educated in Edeys all have in common to be “dys”, the profiles are nevertheless very varied as the spectrum of dys disorders is vast. “Often, a student is not ‘just’ dyslexic, there are other things that go with it, dyspraxia (disorder disrupting the ability to perform certain gestures, editor’s note) for example or even hyperactivity disorders”, says the director of the establishment.

The reduced numbers thus allow the teachers to adapt to the handicap of each one. “Before, I didn’t understand anything in math. It was horrible. Today, I like it because I understand”, testifies Amance, 3rd year student, dyscalculic (disorder altering the ability to understand and use numbers, Editor’s note), dysorthographic (spelling learning disorder, editor’s note) and dyslexic.

8% of dys students in France

In France, the number of dys students is estimated at 8%, “and around 2% are unable to follow a traditional schooling”, estimates Olivier Le Pape. Edeys therefore hopes to be able to help these few students to acquire methods to compensate for their difficulties, with the objective of returning to a more traditional curriculum in high school, or, at least, of succeeding in finding their way by going off the beaten track.

Immersion in the heart of a school for students with dys disorders