The law of February 11, 2005 clearly sets the right of access for students with disabilities. In this context, the Ministry of Higher Education has prompted the signing of a charter “University / Handicap” with the Conference of Presidents of University (CPU), launched in 2007 and renewed in 2012 , providing for the establishment dedicated structures in the institutions. Their mission: analyze the needs of each student, define the necessary accompaniments, ensure their implementation and ensure follow-up throughout the course.
The creation of these places thus allows the student to have a unique and well-identified entry point for his actions. Still, the decision to recognize his situation belongs to everyone, which can not erase the phenomena of self-censorship . Some students are afraid of being stigmatized. Others have succeeded in the secondary to compensate for their situation without declaring themselves. But after a few months, many realize that support is needed. As soon as they have knowledge of the device of their establishment, the procedures are well marked.
At the University of Lorraine, where collegial work has been undertaken since 2001, the number of students accompanied has increased 2.6 times in 10 years. This represents, during the academic year 2017/2018, nearly 800 students, 1.2% of promotions. In 2017/2018, 70% of identified Lorraine students benefited from a Support Plan for Disabled Students(PAEH).
A concerted follow-up
The launch of an accompaniment procedure involves meeting two key players in the system: the disability referee, a real day-to-day contact for the student, and the doctor in the university health service, who, for his part, will recognize the situation of disability and formulate, in particular, recommendations for the design of exams. The deadlines for the processing of the application will depend on the individual situations to be examined.
The reception of these students, and subsequently their support, are in all cases a concerted action, the disability mission to the teaching team, through the service of guidance and counseling. professional integration, or student associations … This collaboration is essential to the establishment of a quality welcome.
What forms can the proposed accompaniments take concretely? During the course, the students can benefit from the presence of a note-taker or stagger their course, for example by spreading the lessons of a university year over two years. These arrangements are recorded in the PAEH which will follow the student throughout his studies and which will be reviewed regularly (usually at least once a year) to adapt to changes in the curriculum and, sometimes, disability.
For the exams they can benefit from an increased time for the written and / or oral exams, the support of a secretary who writes the copy under their dictation or a computer to compose with the help of dedicated software like for Dys disorders for example … Some students may also have an individual room to pass their exams. These arrangements can, of course, be accumulated according to the situations.
In Lorraine, with regard to the examinations established during the academic year 2017/2018, 25% of students accompanied for exams compose in the presence of human assistance.
Communicating with high schools
For graduates and new entrants, it is very important to start the process immediately upon admission to a training course, without waiting for the start of the school year.
In order for support to be rapidly efficient upon arrival at the university, it is necessary to establish contacts with secondary education to facilitate the transition to higher education. Depending on the regions and / or universities, specific initiatives can be organized in different forms – training and business forum with companies and establishments in a territory; interventions in high schools; presentation of the conditions of accompaniment at the university; meeting with teachers referring disability of high schools …
As such, the collaborations between the Rectorate of the Nancy-Metz Academy and the University of Lorraine have been in existence for more than ten years and are today the subject of a partnership agreement -organization of a flagship event: “Disability and Higher Education” . During this event, every year, students with disabilities are presented with the support methods that are offered in higher education institutions and the steps to take to benefit from them. Thus, 60 high school students, often accompanied by their parents, were informed during the 2018 edition.
In addition, at the national level and in a desire to harmonize and exchange practices, the Association of professionals of disability support in higher education (APACHES) was created in November 2012. It aims to federate all support structures for students and disabled people in higher education to enable them, within their institutions, to better meet the obligations of the law of 11 February 2005 on “l equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities. It facilitates dialogue with supervisory authorities and bodies to develop recommendations that respond to the implementation of new policies.
Author Bios: Laurence Canteri is Vice-President in charge of the University Life Council and Yves Cardellini is a Referent Handicap both at the University of Lorraine