Gaële is the first to offer a comprehensive and easy-to-use platform of solutions for parents and professionals to access behavioral approach-inspired tools for autistic children, shifting the care system for autism entirely. Gaële has mobilized a multidisciplinary team of experts (orthophonist, illustrator, psychologist, psychomotorist) to transform existing books/methods/exercises - inaccessible to most parents and caregivers - into a comprehensive toolkit that can be used by any individual. The toolkit takes the form of apps that require almost no prior training. Gaële discovered behavioral approaches through a specific methodology (ABA-VB), so LearnEnjoy’s tools rely on a unique combination of existing methodologies, approaches and expertise. This unprecedented set of apps thus results from a very global approach. The LearnEnjoy toolkit comprises of three apps geared towards developing a broad skillset – especially focusing on communication, daily life skills, and academic rigor - that young autistic children struggle to develop in comparison to other children. Such skills are key to increasing their social integration: learning to imitate, listen, and communicate. LearnEnjoy apps facilitate the development of these key skills at a crucial developmental age range: between 12 months and five years. The apps also allow early interventions by parents and professional caregivers as compared to traditional care. An increasing amount of positive feedback from parents who use the apps with their children testify to the positive impact they have on concrete skill development that often stagnates for years with traditional treatments.
LearnEnjoy’s app toolkit has been developed with the help of a team of experts that gamified the exercises and adapted them specifically to children with autism, increasing their visual attractiveness, strong ‘reward logic’, and encouraged interactions between children and parents or caregivers.
These three apps cover three levels of difficulty, and two playing modes allow either the child’s autonomous use of the app or for the parents to play side-by-side with their children. All applications have intentionally been developed for tablets, an interface that is not only considered attractive but is also increasingly used by both children and adults. Furthermore, tablets have been proven to facilitate concentration, understanding and learning when dealing with autistic children.*
Such tablet applications are accessible to all parents at an affordable cost - a few dozen euros compared to hundreds or thousands of euros in monthly fees for placing an autistic child in a specialized institution. The costs for professional care centers is also very low thanks to 1) partnerships with tablet manufacturers and suppliers that equip children for free, and 2) access to the national funding system for professional training to support and monitor caregivers in the use of educative program.
Eventually, this new technology will allow new tracking opportunities to measure progress. To increase the use of LearnEnjoy’s apps by parents, Gaële organizes trainings throughout the year. Already, in a span of 12 months, 300 parents have participated in workshops. Gaële is now looking to create a physical space to systematize trainings and supervision solutions on a much bigger scale. Her strong connections with the main associations of parents with disabled children and her capacity to leverage the power of word-of-mouth also enable Gaële to increase awareness of LearnEnjoy’s outcomes. During the past 18 months, the tablet applications have been downloaded more than 12,000 times, and entered the first ranks in the “Education” category of the App Store.
Gaële actively contributes to discussions led by the government on the subject of autism in France. Beyond her lobbying activity, Gaële is now developing a network of major partners working concretely in the field of mental disability, and has already signed partnerships with two main actors in the education and medico-social spaces: the INS HEA (a higher education institute working around the academic inclusion, education and training of disabled individuals) and the FEGAPEI (a national federation of 4,000 care centers working with people affected by mental disorders). Through these partnerships, her objectives are to offer trainings, evaluate the impact of the use of behavioral techniques on autistic children, encourage practitioners to change their practices, and involve families in the process. Such partners represent a very high spread potential: thousands of specialized institutions, tens of thousands of medical professionals, and hundreds of thousands of potential beneficiaries with mental disorders are in direct contact with such organizations.
The basic technologies used by LearnEnjoy are a good way to equip teachers with concrete tools that, due to new public policies, they are required to introduce in their classes. They also build bridges between the professional sphere (education, health, medico-social) and families, to re-establish a much-needed dialogue between parents and caregivers through this unprecedented basis for discussion. Gaële works in close contact with the Ministry of Education to link the results obtained through her tablet applications with the standard indicators they use to evaluate the academic level of children. She thus builds a strong set of tangible arguments that parents can use to help schools better support their children. In this way, Gaële is enabling access to quality education for autistic children throughout France.