Tailored Lessons for Autistic Children in Lyon


Currently in France, it is estimated that 80 percent of children living with autism are not receiving fulltime, mainstream schooling, and 50 percent of those none at all. Work opportunities for people with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) are extremely limited. Bernd Essigman is helping.

Autisme Ambition Avenir (AAA) is a binary project in the Lyon region which provides adapted education solutions for children and adults with ASD.

The association is made up of 6 core members: autism professionals and parents of children with ASD. Volunteers like myself help out on specific projects.

Jean-Michel Aulas, President of Olympique Lyonnais and honorary President of Autisme Ambition Avenir, at the association’s gala evening at the OL Stadium.
The AAA education team
Bernd Essigman with Nadege Alloiosio and Isabelle Kumar, President and Vice President of AAA.
Jeremy Perles, Administrative Assistant at Autisme Ambition Avenir, diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, speaking at the gala about his experiences prior to working with AAA.

Our educational project started last September with AAA providing tailored, coordinated, personalized teaching, initially for five children.

AAA also employs a young man diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Though qualified, he has been unable to find employment because of his disability. This new employee is tasked with scheduling the children, dealing directly with clients at the reception desk and on the telephone, preparing accounts and creating and coordinating work materials for the teachers working on the project.

A Few Words about Myself….

I am a German national and, during my alternative military service, I worked with people suffering from autism in my home country. I have also helped out on individual projects, e.g. by setting up the gala event, I help AAA with all kinds of administrative work and organize funding and presentation events.

80 %

of children living with autism are not receiving fulltime, mainstream schooling

Elias Brown and Bernd Essigman
Elias Brown, 15 years old, with specialist autism teacher working with a shape sorter.
Nadege Alloisio, President of AAA and trained autism psychologist, with Kylian.
Melodie Lemur, specialist autism tutor, with 7-year-old Kylian working on his writing skills with Bernd Essigman at the Autisme Ambition Avenir (AAA) learning center

AAA received financial support from the Olympique Lyonnais Foundation, and several CEOs from Lyon businesses have also pledged their support.

I am particularly happy and proud of Bayer’s donation to AAA. Bayer is a strong economic force in the Rhône-Alpes region, and helping in this specific area strengthens our commitment to social responsibility.

This funding has enabled us to provide children with a full range of adapted learning materials, and our employee with ASD with a fully equipped workstation. Hiring this young man sends a strong message of inclusion. Thank you to the Bayer Cares Foundation!

Plans for the Future

We aim to welcome 5 more children throughout 2016. Our effective educational model is very flexible, simple and can be replicated. The AAA association is recognized by both the medical and business communities. We are planning an awareness campaign in the press and social media, as well as events in which businesses open their doors to people living with autism. Furthermore, we are partnering with other associations in France to communicate on this issue.