Special needs schooling in Toulouse

We are a family of Brits considering a move to the Toulouse area and have a 5 year old son that is Autistic

Does anyone know how children with special needs are catered for in France and if there are any special needs schools catering to Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Toulouse area?


Hi karlsari!

Hope that other members will soon share their experience with you.;)


Thanks Harmonie

I'm assuming that like the UK there are good facilities for special needs children in the France.

My son is dyslexic and has ADHD. Schooling here has been, and continues to be, a nightmare. The school system does not want to recognize learning disabilities and has no interest or time to deal with them.  It is still basically an elitist system here.  I have even had him recognized as handicapped (after years of paperwork) in hopes that he would get some help, but no luck.  We now drive him to another city to a private school with smaller classes where he is at least more comfortable and does get a bit of help.

Think very carefully about this move.

Hi BethA

Not what I wanted to hear and definitely cause for concern.

One of the reasons I was considering a move to France is because I assumed support for special needs would be far superior to Qatar. May have to reconsider a move if that's how things are there.

Anyone else had any experience like this?

Hi Karlsari

No personal experience, but having two children in the school system for thirteen years (and not finished yet!) have heard of great difficulties.  I would agree with BethA - Dyslexia is only just about recognised, autism I think is a way down the line.  As far as I am aware, special needs schools are very few and far between. 

One possibility is a small local school that might be willing to devote more time to your son, but the other problem is that of language - does he speak/understand French?

Thanks for your candid input JLouise

Not very encouraging and may have to rethink our plans. Another option is the US (Denver area) and I'm guessing they are a bit further down the line than France.

Regards,    Karl

I expect your child would be much better off in the US. Generally the state school systems are quite proactive in helping kids.  I'm from New York so don't know Denver but I found this:


so it looks pretty good.  Very important in the States to make sure that you have the maximum of health insurance.  Prices are high and the bill collectors are relentless.

Best of  luck!

P.S.  I've heard that the Denver area is beautiful.

Thanks very much for this information - much better but of course I need to make sure I've got the insurance coverage!

I've visited Denver quite a few times and agree its very nice. The Rocky Mountains are right on your doorstep and they get a lot of sunshine.

The thought of living in France was very appealing as well but the lack of support for my son is a show-stopper.

Sorry to be such a downer;  I know how attractive France sounds and it's a great place for a holiday but the reality of living here is really quite harsh. The school system is archaic and elitist. It's a constant struggle not only for my son but also for us as we "battle" the system.  I have friends here with children with learning disabilities and they are also very unhappy.

Again, best of luck wherever you go!

Having taught autistic children in private schools around Toulouse, may I suggest you seriously consider your move to France. There are schools and institutions that accept children with autism however as well as your child having to deal with  a new language you may find the treatment quite barbaric and attitudes positively medieval especially if you have come from outside of the continent.Many french professionals still see autism as an illness or brought on by over protective mothers. It was only last month educational authorites agreed that wrapping autistic children tightly in cold wet sheets, was no longer considered an effective form of treatment.
Some institutions are more receptive and enlightened than others however the final decision to accept a child with autism into the state eductional system rests with its classroom teacher, therefore this decision may change from year to year. I have only known of one autistic child to have stayed in France.The other parents have all left feeling that their children's needs could be met much better elsewhere. Speaking frankly, if it were my child, I would not move to France.
Tanya Carlile

Hi Tanya & thanks for your candid input.

Based on earlier (not so positive) comments we had pretty much ruled out a move to France. Your first hand experience clearly underlines what others have said.

Too bad...we were quite upbeat about France but clearly the system there is not supportive of children with special needs. We will definitely not be moving there. Not that keen on the UK but they do appear to have a more enlightened approach to special needs.

Regards,    Karl

France's autism treatment 'shame'