Le monde de Théo


Vilma Coccoz

Responsible Observatorio Autismo. European Psychoanalytical Federation


A little while ago we received the good news that Theo, who as we know from the documentary is fascinated by computers and water above all things, has been able to fulfill his dream of swimming like turtles; having successfully completed his first diving course. Valéry Gay Corajoud, his mother, could not be here with us today but awaits news from this event; she is now accompanying Théo in his second subaquatic incursión.

This past April, on the occasion of the celebrations organized by La main à l’oreille on the International day of autism, Théo spoke with ease (1), along with his brother, about their difficult journey in search of a fraternal bond, interrupted from the moment the two year old boy fell into what Owen Reskind calls a “black well” and Donna Williams the Great Black Nothing, both authors being autistic.

In the documentary Le monde de Théo the young man is presented by his mother. More precisely, she invites us to enter his world, involving us in his joys, his worries, the anxieties experienced in the course of the tenacious battle to move forward, overcoming multiple adversities. Through the generous dedication of our friends in the big web of exchanges of the LaMaO, we can say Théo is a part of our world.


Opening doors


Mª Jesús Sanjuan

President of the families association  TEAdir-Aragón


When one considers what this Seminar of Good Practices between professionals and families means, one has to look back and remember, because fortunately these days, those good practices have made life easier for both the child and the family.

Something that always worried me and anguished was the possibility of “losing my son”.

It was a hectic time, a time in which the mechanisms that my son used to alleviate the chaos of his world meant the total collapse of mine.

He used to go out running without letting anyone know, in what I understood was an aimless journey, which distressed me and made me always grab onto him, call to him and I would not let him get further away than a metre from me.

Some time later, I discussed the situation with his therapist. The idea of ​​not being able to confine the world and the feeling that he was unaware of any danger, put me in a position of tiring guardian, and I guess it would lead him to feel harassed constantly, in an endless cycle of escape and capture.

His therapist made me understand that, although he would explore limits, he did it with a purpose: to find at that moment in time what captured all his interest: the opening and closing of a garage door.



The symptoms or the subject.


A mother from  TEAdir-Euskadi


The symptoms are the first sign of alarm.

The nervous tic, the strange way of slurring words, the formal speech that is almost academic and pedantic, the solitary and extravagant game in the park …

Symptoms strike fear into our heart and alert us. And when we go to the doctor’s surgery they are what we refer: he plays alone, speaks to strange characters, moves his head constantly, freezes, seems not to hear, is immersed in his own world, slurs his words as if stuttering, his conversation is excessively formal …

At school, his teacher also speaks of these symptoms: he does not get along with the rest of his class, goes his own way, does not seem to pay attention, becomes agitated when there is a lot of noise, doesn’t stop painting in the margins of his books or making little paper balls with his notebooks …

And at the park, the symptoms single him out: that boy is “weird”, “extravagant”, “different” …

Would it that the symptoms disappeared. Would it that he behaved like all the others. Because without those damn symptoms, my son would be like all the others. Without symptoms, there would not be a “problem”.

And then we ask ourselves: maybe if we force him to keep his head still, maybe if we sign him up for the football team, maybe if we take away the game console so he is “obliged” to play in the park, maybe if we reprimand him constantly for drawing in the margins of the book so he stops doing it, maybe if all those symptoms disappear … maybe …

But in the day-to-day, we soon appreciate that fighting these manifestations is remaining on the surface, in the ostensible and that our son rapidly substitutes one repressed symptom for another to fulfill its function.

At our home this was very evident: we repressed his “fixation” with painting in the margins of books during classes because he seemed not to pay attention. And he substituted this “fixation” with that of making little paper balls with pages from his notebooks.

And this made us understand him.

His drawings were his support, his refuge, his anchor.

Focusing on his symptom (his apparent disconnection in class), had made us forget what was important: he was already attentive even if it was not apparent and he had found a less aggressive or invasive resource to do so. And we began to learn to trust in him, in his logic, in his way of presenting himself in the world and to the world.



A Footbridge for our Children

Aurore C.

Association La Main à l’Oreille – Antenne Normandie


We are the parents of a wonderful 3 and-a-half-year-old boy.

He is a vivacious, smart, loving, surprising, gracious child… He is also a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, or an “autistic” child if you prefer.

Our young child cried a lot when he was a baby, and very early on dressing and undressing him, changing his diapers, became very difficult. He got very upset.

I remember it took him three weeks to accept the change from the baby seat to the child seat, although he was only a few months old… When he was 15 months old, he started to have big temper tantrums and hit himself, and this worried us a lot.

Observing my increasing discomfort, the pediatrician recommended registering him at a nursery so he could be with other children. At the end of last year, we became very worried about our young son; it looked like he was in a bubble, and we also thought he was deaf. He was clearly avoiding contact with the other kids.

I shared my concerns with the nursery staff. He played by himself there, refusing to join the group activities. After some requested feedbacks and believing it was a problem with him, we consulted a specialist: our son was autistic.



A work with all children


Yolanda Sarsa

Director of Child Education Centers “Patinete”


As you know, Patinete is a Kindergarten which, although it has the peculiarity of hosting children with serious difficulties in their institution, the majority of the children who come are children who would commonly be called “normal”. However, for us, this supposed “normality” does not exempt us from careful work with each one of them and that does not stop putting into play the particularity of the case by case.

Therefore, to exemplify the reflections about the entrance and separation process we have chosen to present what we could call “one case among others”, but as you will see, treated in its singularity.


And siblings ask questions too…*


Mariana Alba de Luna

Association  La Main à l’Oreille


I would like to ask a question to Marian, who said before that she has an autistic sister. When did you realize what was going on with your sister, accept it, and when did you think people must become aware of that, and understand it too? When did you make that decision?

“When I was a little girl the first answer I had was aggression, because at first I felt attacked because of my sister’s arrival, she was born one year later than me.

I know it now, I felt attacked because of her enigmatic presence, from the moment she was born everything stopped, she took the place of everything.

And I had to deal first with the aggressiveness, and at the same time with the fascination I felt for her because I saw her as special. I felt love for her, and a mixture between love and anger because she arrived so soon and took my place. I thought it was something like that.

But later on I started to become fascinated, and I said: “Well, if everyone is interested in her, I’m going to be like her”. Then I began… not to imitate her, but I glued myself to her and became like her double. I sat down next to her and began to wonder “But what is she doing there silent, in a corner, in the garden? She must do something!” And I discovered many things.


The welcoming of a child to a daycare institucion: The process of entering and the work of separation


Yolanda Sarsa

Patinete” Childcare Director


The entering of the child to a daycare constitutes a work as our own entity. The arrival to an unknown place, to a place where there are many people also unknown, may represent a very threatening situation for a child, and the fact that the space and individuals may be attractive and nice to the child is not enough reason for the child to want to be there. On the other hand, the child’s continuation in the place will inevitably be associated with the fact that the mother, father, or personal companion of his surroundings who may have cared for him until then such person suddenly disappears from the scene, may present all the anguish that may develop in same cases. In this way we could talk not only about the work of caregiving, but the work the child has to realize in his initiation of the daycare experience. On one hand, the child will have to gain ownership of the space and his educators to be able to perceive it and them as part of a familiar world, and on the other hand the child will have to work to separate from his companion to be able to experience the separation without an excessive amount of anguish.

In Patinete the educators must also work to facilitate and make possible a good encounter with the child. In the first place, this proposition distinguishes us from other day cares: the child, in the beginning, in this variable first time for each child and his family, will stay with us and be accompanied by that person of his familiar surroundings. We understand that accompanying the child will help the child with his needed sense of security by facilitating the “affective bridge” that will be established among the educators and the families, which means that little by little, the child will include us in the familiarity of his surroundings. The place and the educators will be then “drenched” with the tone of security and accompany that transition which we work toward. Also, because the separation always works in two directions, both the child and the companion will be addressed in this work.


The rain, the wind, the billboards

Christine Carteron

Achievements of Jean-Sébastien, aged 17, welcomed into

the Therapeutic and Research Centre of Nonette (France)


The rain, the wind, the excessive heat of the sun, nothing was a stumbling block to the presence outside, in the open air, of this little prince, quiet but yet so attentive.

I invited him to break that isolation. He accepted.

He entrusted me his first “drawing”. Billboards. Firstly isolated, then stored, placed next to each other, one by one. From the front view, side view, back, with breathtaking details.

At a later stage, these billboards appeared in a different scenography where the routes, the roads, the security fences, the cars started to take their place. Some roofs, some houses sprang out.

Once the work was finished, the autor gave me the names of the elements which had been represented, with concentration, discretion and happiness too. Then he entrusted me his pieces of work, one per day, asking at times to see them again – with a mix of joy and satisfaction.


Marco the artist …and more


Experiences through autism

by Antonella Tofano

Amici della Fondazione  Martin Egge Onlus


In this text I will relate my encounter with Dr. Chiara Mangiarotti, the road that began with my son Marco’s painting workshop and the positive experiences brought on by the good formative advice I have received.

My son is now twenty five years old and we received the diagnose of autism when he was only three years old. It has never been easy to educate him because he has a strong and frequently contrarian character which, added to an imposing physique (he is now 1.95 m tall and weighs around 100 kg) and a propensity to aggressive behavior, frequently led us to impede his participation in school activities or to limit school intervention for fear of physical aggressions. Despite possessing a modest cognitive level which has allowed him to learn to read and write, Marco does not verbalize -he expresses himself through word-phrases, for example- but in general he has a good level of personal autonomy. Ever since he was small, he showed an inclination towards drawing and the passing years have developed his talent and his expressive style, which we encouraged by enrolling him in an artistic secondary school.


Why we consider an institutional approach fundamental for working with autism


TORREON. A Welcome and Treatment Space for Children and their Families.

Gracia Viscasillas. Clinical coordinator.


We are, in this age, a few, those striving to attack things, to create within ourselves spaces for life, spaces that didn’t exist, or seem to have to find a place in space.

Antonin Artaud

Written on the wall in Torreón


It seems to us that an institution oriented by psychoanalysis is a privileged place for the putting into place of the welcoming of and offer to the subject. A welcoming of its modes of treatment, defence, confronted by the invasion of jouissance it suffers. An offer, constructed through a plurality – of spaces, of participants – in order to construct a “space”, an “atmosphere”, that constitutes a place of response beyond the effects of signification. It is starting from this work that we can speak of the civilising effects of jouissance.


To inhabit this place of response passes through putting the accent on the welcoming of the subject, in the particularity it brings with it to put to work. For years, we have wagered in our institutions on the orientation given to us by the ‘plural practice’, which implies that we make the “treatment” emphasise the Other with which the subject has to do – the participants, the institution itself – and the effects of this that can be glimpsed in the subject. In order to do this, it is important to capture the conditions of the Other that permit, for each subject, the facilitation of an encounter.


The French language has one word, “être”, where we have two: ‘ser’ and ‘estar’. Sometimes it seems as if we live in a society in which the demand in relation to these children is that they “are” (estén) well, in the sense that it is not noticed that they are “different”, that is, that they become “normalised”. This vision that puts the accent on “apparent being” (estar aparente), leaves aside the fact that each one of them “is” (es), no longer in their difference, but instead in their singularity. In Torreón, we wager on the creation of places in which each of them can “be as they are” (estar como es), and what we find is that in making this wager they can precisely “be well” (estar bien). Be well, not in the still-frame of their supposed “normalisation”, but instead in “their” normality, that of each of them.


Inventar para caminar


Alexandra Dauplay-Langlois

Asociación de familias La Main à l’Oreille – Responsable Antenne Aquitaine


No ha sido sencillo asumir la singularidad de mi hijo con respecto a los demás. Esa manera de ser diferente ha sido siempre más fácil de aprender en casa, aunque resultara físicamente demoledora. Me las componía con los desbordamientos de Mahé, los sufría sin comprenderlos verdaderamente, sin saber qué hacer y naturalmente tentada en vano de repetirle “¿por qué haces eso?”, “¡para de gritar!”, “¿puedes parar de saltar?”, etc…

Con el paso de los meses y gracias a un trabajo personal, mis inquietudes al respecto de la evolución de mi hijo se disolvieron y poco a poco se pudo establecer una distancia. Asumiendo plenamente su desplazada manera de ser con respecto a los otros y sobre todo al respecto de las expectativas de la sociedad, a partir de su diferencia, vivida ya como un pozo de riqueza increíble, despuntó un camino por andar y se abrieron puertas de caminos todavía inexplorados. La vida en casa mejoró. Pude acoger la expresión de su libertad en un marco flexible, propicio a pequeñas victorias obtenidas de soslayo y de invenciones cotidianas. Tiendo a ir por pasos en vez de agotarme siguiendo a toda costa una norma con el sufrimiento que supone y el gasto de energía inútilmente desplegado. Abrir en vez de cerrar, escuchar, inventar en vez de imponer, pero no sin emplazar a mi hijo ante ciertas y pequeñas responsabilidades con el propósito de que sea él el verdadero actor de esas pequeñas victorias. Aprender a vivir juntos en una familia, sea la que sea, a respetarse mutuamente.


Antenne 110, an enlightened education


Bruno de Halleux

Antenne 110


For complex institutional reasons pertaining to Belgium, Antenne 110 lost its denomination as a Center for the treatment and care for autistic children in 2004. A new denomination was ascribed to us. We have been defined as a “reeducation center”. This term is very remote from our approach to working with autistic and psychotic children.

Since its establishment, Antenne 110 is guided by Lacan’s teachings. We therefore had to redefine the modality of our work to have the case by case treatment given to each child we take in, meet the concept of reeducation demanded by our subsidiary organism, the Social Security.

The children that are sent to us have frequently passed through various specialized approaches. They arrive when every other fostering possibility is exhausted. They are branded as unmanageable at school, at home or at the medico-educational institutions. In a way, we receive “the remnant, the remains”, the ineducable children of the school or medico-social institutions. They were not able to integrate them in their programs or in their treatments. The purpose is to invent a device that is singular every time and can take into account these children who cannot be assimilated or absorbed by the therapeutic or educational programs. It is because they proved recalcitrant to the discourse which held them, that these children are sent to us.


Born twice


María Jesús Compadre

Association of families  TEAdir-Euskadi

My son Aimar was born in December 2002. He is a gorgeous 10-year-old boy.

At first I was absolutely thrilled to see how easy it was to raise this child since his development was quite normal and he met his milestones on time, or sometimes even before. He seemed such an independent baby… just as if he did not need anybody around!

It was when he was about two that I started to be puzzled about some kind of oddities in his behaviour, like his rocking before he fell asleep or his unwillingness to wear a pair of brand-new shoes, which I had just bought for him, and that obviously I had to take back to the shop.

However, being totally unaware of his difficulties and considering he was a really energetic toddler, we decided to take him to a nursery school by the time he was two. There, he adapted quite well to this new environment except that he cried quite a lot, as we learned later, but given this is not unusual for young children, the teachers just thought it would take him a little longer to adjust. How much he must have suffered at that time!

One day the teacher called us to meet after school and this was when she told us, in a very gentle manner, about his weird behaviour. Then, as she did not dare to utter the word, I put it bluntly: autism, isnt it?


In the van…


Pierre Jacobs

Antenne 110


At Antenne 110, we are continually confronted with the following questions:

How to do with the children we have at our disposal? How to accompany them, while at their arrival they often present themselves as closed to the Other, deaf to every discourse, and the paths of bonding, of learning, of desire seem obstructed?

What inventions do they find to be able to register themselves minimally in the world, in the field of the Other? Moreover, from our side, how can we listen to what they have to tell us? How can we welcome and be interested in their uniqueness, in their way of being that often seems so strange?

Paradoxical as this may seem, the clinical experience with the children attended in the Antenne 110 for more than 40 years, does not fail to show that it is when we get to grasp the tools that the subject tends to us, making a place to these most singular aspects (their relation to certain objects, their centers of interest, their apprehension of the world) ; when we accept letting ourselves be guided and directed by what the child shows and does, it is then, when he evolves, he takes risks in the exchange with the other, socializes and opens to the world.


Ser madre de un niño autista



Valérie-Gay Corajoud

Asociación de familias La Main à l’Oreille –Antenne Occitanie


¿Quién soy yo actualmente? Más allá de ser madre, ¿qué otra cosa soy?

Tratando de consolidar los bordes de mi frágil hijo, ¿he perdido de vista aquella que era? o, a la inversa, ¿he investido mi identidad en sus mínimos rincones?

Rechazo la pérdida de tiempo haciendo suposiciones sobre lo que habría sido mi vida si mi último hijo no hubiera sido autista. ¿Para qué?

Para ser honesta, ser música no era el reflejo de mi personalidad sino más bien una vía fácil en la cual había sabido hacerme un nombre sin pagar verdaderamente con mi persona. Ahí no estaba entera y no me satisfacía. Tomar la decisión de poner fin a mi carrera no ha sido en absoluto doloroso, sino a la inversa, liberador.

Pero no puedo negar que todas las decisiones tomadas desde el nacimiento de Théo, o al menos desde el surgimiento de su autismo han sido en función de él. Él es mi prioridad. Cualquier tema que sea abordado, nada se construye en mi vida sin que sean sopesados los efectos que tendrán en la suya.

No sé si eso es bueno, sí o no, probablemente las dos cosas.


Fly with the net : Carlo, Samuel, Alberto


Nicola Aloisi, Silvia Cimarelli, Chiara Mangiarotti

Fondazione Martin Egge Onlus


At the Martin Egge Onlus Foundation, each operator follows individually the child or young person; receives the parents, with whom makes periodic meetings; maintains a constant relationship with the teachers and the world of the school and with other reference figures of the Local Health Services. While each one works individually, there is always present on the horizon the practique à plusieurs as a reference device to a third element, people or things in praesentia or absentia that can tangle around the subject a network of desire. The treatment aims, as Eric Laurent writes, to construct “for subjects with no boundaries and no edge […] a singular chain that amalgamates signifiers, objects, actions and ways of doing, in order to construct a circuit that fulfills a function of edge and of drive circuit.”

Three clinical vignettes on three children who have come to us already diagnosed as Asperger, written respectively by Nicola Aloisi, Carlo, Silvia Cimarelli, Samuel, and by Chiara Mangiarotti, Alberto, illustrate our way of operating:


Los dibujos animados, una puerta abierta sobre el mundo


Aurore Cahon y Matthieu Grosset

Association La Main à l’Oreille – Antenne Normandie


Nuestra maravilla, un niñito que mañana cumplirá 5 años, un niño rubio como el trigo con dos bolitas azules, una mirada chispeante.

Un niño dicho Autista…

De bebé lloraba mucho.

Desde los primeros días, no soportaba el vestirle, el desvestirle, algo que más tarde se volvió en una aversión a ser tocado.

Estaba preso de grandes cóleras que rápidamente se volvieron “crisis”…

Esbozaba palabras y cumplía bien con las casillas de su carnet de salud… gateó, después caminó, balbuceó, luego dijo algunas palabras. Eliott nos miraba, nos sonreía.

Y un día, Eliott escapó de nosotros… era como nacer al revés.

Cada día un poco más, se encerró en el mutismo.

Ya no nos miraba.


About Carlos and our life

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Author Carlos David Illescas Vacas


Rosario Vacas de la Calle

Mother of Carlos David, who participated at the exhibition “The World in Singular”,  member of  TEAdir-Granada

We would like to begin thanking the organization for their invitation to reflect upon our life, that revolves around a singularly beautiful and admirable person: our son Carlos. It is difficult to identify the mechanisms that drive us in a constant search for a more amiable path through life. The attempt to put words to these matters and express them in this forum has also been complicated by the emotions aroused by so long a walk through memory lane and by our determination to feel comfortable with what we say. We wish to emphasize our appreciation for people who work in education and the fundamental role they play in construing a pleasanter world.

Forty years ago, we decided to have our son Carlos, the first of three brothers and the first grandchild. He is healthy, cheerful and perhaps the only thing that singles him out are his impressive contrasts: affectionate in his way, generous in his way, splendidly eloquent on the subjects that interest him, able in his way of great efforts to please the people who show him love or that he believes do so, with a high self-esteem and wondering why some people do not see his worth, he knows everything about subjects that matter to him, he is tireless regarding things he finds appealing, is mostly tender, unpredictable. He doesn’t tire of watching planes, of which he has abundant information but is terrified of flying. He is mostly fascinated by light, color, shapes, sound; he is very sensitive to certain sounds and lights but nevertheless loves fireworks.


A singular space for the treatment of autism


Pedro Gras. Director

“Torreón”. A space for the fostering and treatment of children and families


María (an alias) is a young, six year old autistic girl who barely says a few words. It is time to leave and she has come down on the elevator with Teresa, the instructor of the Library workshop. In the ground floor there is the typical din of children reencountering their parents after two and a half hours of activities. Despite the sweet and affectionate words of Teresa, María does not leave the elevator.

The girl does not say she does not want to go, she remains “rooted”, paralyzed, and does not answer Teresa’s words.

Another member of the team who witnesses the scene intervenes, saying emphatically: “Teresa, what are you still doing in the elevator? Don’t you know that María has the right to go quietly with her mother?”

Teresa, theatrically serious, responds to this statement apologizing for her mistake; the girl then exits the elevator on her own and is able to meet her mother without difficulties.

This small vignette of our daily functioning, in line with what Jacques-Alain Miller called “pratique à plusieurs”, developed by the psychoanalyst Antonio Di Ciaccia in the Belgian institution Antenne 110, helps demonstrate the basis of our work with these children at Torreón.


Dancing in the light


Oksana Kolodna

 TEAdir-Aragón , Association of families


It occurred a few years ago when our son was three years old, in the harsh times of our uncertainty.

I accompanied my son to a farm-school, together with the nursery’s other children and teachers. I thought it would be enjoyable because he has always loved animals. When we arrived there, I was pained by distance.

While the other children sat attentively listening to the explanations about the animals, my son remained standing, oblivious to his surroundings. In the gloom of the stable, he was looking at a ray of light that seemed to capture his interest and he moved the fingers of his little hands in a strange manner. I called him, invited him to sit with the other children. He seemed not to hear me.


Autistic children in the Early Care program


Paloma Larena

Fundación Atención Temprana (Early Care Foundation)


Between 20 and 25% of the children attended in the CDIATs (Child Development and Early Care Centers) of the Foundation’s Early Care Program, fall within the autism spectrum. They have been referred to us for “delayed speech or language development”, “delayed language and attention development”, “socialization problems” or “general developmental disorder”. These appellations, resulting from the assessments of the Aragonese Institute of Social Services, describe a set of discrete signs in children between 2 and 4 years of age.

The parents say: “He doesn’t respond when we call him, he doesn’t turn around”, “it’s like he is doing his own thing”, “she doesn’t speak or takes us by the arm to take us to what she wants, or stays, looking, in front of the refrigerator until you ask her…”, “he makes a grunt when he wants something, like a moan”. When asked during the admissions interview if the child babbled in the cradle, most of them answer yes, there was baby talk, the lalangue (1) was present but did not become words. In some cases, they tell us: “he said ‘mama’, ‘dada’, ‘woof’, … but that was all, now he only says ‘this’ or ‘here’”. Parents usually cannot pinpoint the moment things changed, as if words had progressively been retained. Nevertheless, coincidences appear in the telling of the developmental milestones, as if everything had been normal during the first year and a half and then … Things changed with the first steps, the weaning of the breast or the pacifier, the change to baby food. Every child is different and in some cases we cannot obtain any information other than the objective fact that he “doesn’t talk like other children his age” or “she doesn’t wave goodbye”.


In the same planet


Eugénie Bourdeau

President of the association  La Tribu de Lulu

Family Association  La Main à l’Oreille


Since in our society the norm is sustained as exemplary of respect, this collective summary (“In a singular word”) may offer the spectator the possibility of exploring and accessing a still unknown territory of singularity. An experience outside of norms, where each of us may discover through the prism of autism a different mirror to ourselves. Firstly, a journey towards a more accepting view of ourselves, and perhaps in respect to the difference in others.

“In a singular world,” artists taking part in the exhibition express themselves with the sincerity and the original freedom of children, even those who have already experienced the life of an adult world. They reveal works of art of rare found truths, and of an emotional intelligence frequently questioned.




Nicola Aloisi, Chiara Mangiarotti

Fondazione Martin Egge-Onlus


Marco precociously revealed his extraordinary gift for drawing, which he perfected in his five years at Art College. He has a firm stroke and executes his works with an incredible speed. He precociously developed an attraction for Warner Bros. comic strips and animated films, and inspired by them has drawn for a long period by means of a very particular procedure: he chooses his models in the street, preferably adult and bald men. He photographs them with his tablet or smartphone; re-elaborates the images by first drawing a bald head; and later adds to this abundant hair with strong, brilliant colours. Last year, for the panel collecting the drawings with which he participated in the exhibition ‘The World in Singular’ – presented in Venice by the Foundation Martin Egge Onlus, in collaboration with TEAdir-Aragón – we proposed to him the title ‘The Opportunity Painted Bald’. The ancient Greeks represented the opportunity that must be taken advantage of as a winged boy with precisely a bald head, and a long tuft of hair behind the nape of the neck that had to be ‘grabbed’ quickly before it flew away. For Marco, would this be a way of giving form to a new border (or ‘neo-rim’), displacing in this way the barrier that separates him from the world?


A father’s inventions


Aurore Cahon

Family Association La Main à l’Oreille – Responsible of the Antenne Normandie


I am the one who ‘administers’. Papers, times of appointments, comings and goings, the CMP (Medical-Pedagogical-Centre), school, administrative conflicts.


In my day-to-day life, frequently difficult, there are also moments of great poetry in which time comes to a halt, in which there is a presence of the sublime.


When he was four-years-old, Eliott had a very peculiar stereotypy, rotating his right arm from his back like a big windmill, the arm rigid and straight like an ‘I’.


And he turned and turned, until he dislocated the arm.

He did it automatically, without any expression on his face. Only a fixed grimace, the teeth clenched.


His father had a brilliant idea. He ordered him a gymnastic baton, one of those with a long multicolour ribbon.


The Boy Who Ran Among Pigeons



Team at the Children’s Educational Centre   “Patinete”

By Gracia Viscasillas


We are going to focus on the work we did with Mario from the age of 2 years and 4 months until he was 3 years old.

The first few days he was accompanied by his mother. When he came, Mario did not talk, he did not pronounce any sounds, with the exception of a strange and frequent scream; he did not respond to his name and he did not make eye contact. He was not interested in other children but he did not avoid them either, he acted as if they were not there, he was not interested in adults either. He enjoyed the garden, and he used to wander accompanied by little cars or buggies he dragged around; while he walked a certain imbalance was noticeable.

He also showed this behavior when going to the park with his mother. He did not play with other children; he pulled the cars and ran among the pigeons, while screaming.




Françoise Baudoin

Association  La Main à l’Oreille – Antenne Île de France


Part one: Zoé, from her cries to her writing…

In 2006, when Zoe arrived at the Nonette Center, she was 17 years old. He shrieked without ceasing, and life at home had become very difficult. I lived alone with my two daughters, because Zoe has a sister three years younger. Her father had died when they were 7 and 4 years old.

Zoé was terrified … crossing a door was unbearable for her… approaching her was impossible for us … Her fear of the other was so great that the accompaniment in daily life (toilet, dress …) was made under shrill cries, redoubled with words repeatedly looping and rejecting gestures.

Zoé did not write, never learned to read, but she held on to the images of many books she held in her hands, as a support.


L’ÉVEIL (Awakening), a place of little enunciation


Jean- Jacques Manicourt

Le Courtil


Inside Le Courtil, a transverse service mobilizes the awakening to language. One goes there to put a particular interest to work, centered in an object of knowledge. This service is called L’Éveil (Awakening) and it is addressed to many children and adolescents coming from different Day Centers and Residences.

I work in L’Éveil, a small structure that receives young subjects interested in learning. I attend these youngsters — including autistic children and adolescents (for we know they are not insensible to learning)— One by One. This device differs from the practices in a regular life group. The One by One (which obviously does not exclude the case by case) is not self-evident. I had to invent a way of circulating, a way of punctuating the workshop without recurring to the plural practice.


The objects

Céline T.

Association La Main à l’Oreille – Antenne Provence


Those small objects that you carry with you do not leave you since you were little. They fluctuate with time. Some are with you for weeks, others are more ephemeral. Now, it is a plastic dish, a big one, a small one, a comb, a brush, a piece of a syringe. Hard objects, soft as brushes. Ah, the brushes! You like them more than anything else and you love the caresses with the brushes.

If we do not limit you, you sleep, you wash, you eat, you want to go out with them and if you have nothing in your hands, you will find something along the way. You have to be asked to leave them to eat and to do some activity. They are also the subject of negotiations, if we want you to obey us when the word is not enough.


My encounter with Noah and its effects


Véronique Cornet

Le Courtil


His parents locate the beginning of Noah’s difficulties when he was nine months old, his mother had to return to work and entrusted him to her mother’s daily care. He began suffering terrible bouts of anxiety accompanied by inconsolable tears. Thereafter, every frustration led to self-harming episodes which were later followed by aggressions to others. From the age of two and a half years, Noah has received paedopsychiatric care for adjustment disorder, pervasive developmental disorder and severe autism with hetero and auto-aggression.

Two years and a half ago, Noah, an eight year old boy, was admitted to Le Courtil.


About the paint workshop


Philippe Aurat

The Nonette‘s CTR


How is a practice of painting organized with the residents of the center? What difficulties do I face and what answers do I try to bring? Which are the conditions that are going to allow the work and the accomplishment of a work?

Residents know how to say or express their agreement to participate in the workshop; it is a necessary condition. They also have to agree to spend a certain amount of time in order to achieve something. If they can only stay a short time, I propose to work in sequences, to come back several times on the same work.

Their consent to come to the workshop I do is based on the relationship they have previously established with me. The way that bonding takes with these subjects is particular, not always calm, and it is necessary to take into account what they bring to the relationship. Regular confrontation with their difficulties in life enlightens us and makes us prudent. One should not be unwary and believe that it is already a point of reference. There is, on the one hand, the need for this hook to support the subject and, on the other hand, there are the peculiarities that this link can take. Ad augusta per angusta. (“Towards the heights by narrow ways”)


A conversation in the school playground


Alexandra Dauplay-Langlois

Association La Main à l’Oreille –  Antenne Aquitaine


One afternoon in September I went to the course inauguration reunion of one of my sons, Zadig, in Cel. I know the school well, for his older brother, Mahé, had attended school there for his preparatory year some time earlier, before he entered the school inclusion class (CLIS) in another institution.

As in previous years, the Headmistress introduced her staff: the teachers, male and female, and the person, a woman, in charge of the CLIS class. As in previous occasions, not a word was said about the welcome to children who are different. No explanation about the CLIS! Impatiently, I asked at the end of the reunion how was it possible that nothing was said about the reception of this different children who spend the day in school with the others, and whose behaviour can at times seem strange. The director admitted that it was a good idea to mention these kids and asked the CLIS teacher to intervene.


A matter of tact

Chiara Mangiarotti

Fondazione Martin Egge Onlus – Venecia


The first time I saw Marcos, he was two and a half years old. He used to walk on tiptoe, shake his hands in moments of tension, curiosity or joy, he showed a lot of interest in turning the lights on and off, opening and closing the doors, opening and closing the water faucets in the bathroom. This ‘on and off’ Was his management of the object, in order to introduce two times; Marcos put into play the elemental structure of the symbolic: on / off, open / closed, introducing a + sign and a sign -, two signs in opposition but related and applied to the same object; one could say a form of alternation.

I tried to introduce myself, tactfully and keeping a certain distance, in his repetitive activities, seeking to introduce new elements. He accompanied the lights on and off with the sounds of a little piano or a wooden xylophone, the same with the faucets. Many times most of the sessions were in the bathroom, where Marcos opened and closed the faucets of the sink, bidet, and bathtub and I accompanied his movements introducing different rhythms to name their actions: creating new “musical” sequences with repetition figures, variations of the open-closed theme and introduction of pauses, for example: “open-open-open-pause-closed-closed”, or also accompanying it with the sound of the instruments.


“Rock, scissors, ribbon” and the invention of the weaving


Mireille Battut

President of the families association La Main à l’Oreille

Vice-president of the RAAPH (Meeting in order to Approach the Humanist and Pluralist Autism)


In La main à l’oreille, we welcome all those, autistic, parents, and friends, who consider that a place to be autistic should be made in the City, without referring to a social or behavioral norm. We want to promote an approach that takes into account their subjectivity and embrace their inventions. What do we have in common? Having found autism, being it, or living with it, having it or saying with it, or being told with…

In La main à l’oreile, we are committed to invention. The invention cannot be decreed. It is not programmed. It arrives unexpectedly; it only asks that we recognize it, to welcome it. We do not wait until tomorrow. We live today. Our blog testifies, it is built, day by day, from those little things, nuggets that constitute life, but also of questions, of challenges and enigmas to which we confronts our encounter with Autism.


To learn via a singular object


Pilar Lopez de la Garma

Responsible for the area of school support in “Torreon

Director for the Centers of Childhood Education “Patinete

Many years ago I started working in the area of school support with a six year old autistic boy. In our individual support classes, we took the time to get to know one another, and always with his consent, our work begun.

At the beginning, In one of our classes, he stated: “My head is divided into very tied compartments, making it very difficult for me to allow my ideas in and out. “ I was impacted by his words. A bit later during our classes he informed me that he enjoyed visiting his grandfather in town and seeing him work with the tajadera. What is that? I asked. You don’t know? It is an object that has a very dangerous blade and it cuts the passage of water; sometimes I am able to use the tajadera with my grandfather’s help and see how water goes in and out.”



José Antonio Marín


They are two boys and one girl. They are running around the living room, they get on the couch, they jump … “We’re pirates …!” Suddenly one of them, the eldest, stops short: “Father’s here! Father is here! Listen, guys, Father’s here! “And his hug fills me; it’s a second of happiness so intense … The little ones join: “Daddy, Daddy!”. In a moment, they overwhelm you, they grab you, they kiss you, they want to tell you everything, and out of the corner of my eye I see Miguel go back to his world, humming any of the many songs that he memorized, with the TV set in the background Tele-store channel: “But there’s more: if you’re not satisfied, we’ll give you back your money“. And Miguel is retransmitting it, with the same intonation, with the same words, and with a slight smile on his face …


Behind the rules, the detail


Gracia Viscasillas

Team Child Education Center “Patinete

There is an important issue to remain open and in review in every institution: the matter of the limits, prohibitions, how to use and transmit norms, what their function is, what it is about to regulate.

We will point out that one of the characteristics of “Patinete” is flexibility, which can only be based on a work on the organization aimed at encouraging the institution to be modulated “for each child”. In such a way that the modifications that the particular of a child may require, coexist with the institutional “for all” in an environment that allows the work. All this bearing in mind that our institution is inscribed in the social within the “educational” field.


You will be beautiful!

Laurence Vollin

La Main à l’Oreille – Antenna Switzerland

In February 2015, I found out that I had a very serious health problem…

For a few days, I could not say anything about it. Then, on a Friday night, we were with my husband in our daughter’s room and without really having decided, I told her the news.

Our daughter Anne-Laure is physical handicapped, with a major intellectual deficiency and autistic traits that generate anguish and self-mutilating habits among others things.

Anne-Laure looked at me discreetly. Lying on her bed, she leafed through a magazine carelessly. I needed support and in her look, I read, “I’m here, you’re not alone, I’m here! My daughter was thus the unique and indispensable witness of this particularly trying moment.


Who is my son?

Ana Goiricelaya

President of  TEAdir-Euskadi

It is complicated for me, as a mother, to tell you who my son is, fifteen minutes are not enough

Inas arrived late in the summer of nineteen ninetysix, on Saint Bartholomew’s day, like his great-grandfather one hundred years earlier. One of his many peculiarities. He was the first grandson for my mother, that’s why he was welcomed as a king by grandmothers, great-grandmothers (there were three of them), aunts, cousins and a special nanny. And without realising it, between naps and nappies, the three of us graduated as a family.

From the start he showed us he was a very alert child and very special, with a great sensibility. He was always smiling and he loved eating and trying new flavours although he never ate the same thing twice in a row. Texture was important to him and he didn’t enjoy mashed food.

With these quirky details he grew and little by little started to discover the world. As a child he really enjoyed music, he started dancing with the first music notes so during his first Christmas one of his great passions became a reality: the drums