Key documents: Preamble to the French Constitution, Act 75-535 on Social and Medical Institutions, Law no. 96-1076, Law no. 2005-102, First Autism Plan, Second Autism Plan, and the Third Autism Plan.
Characteristics: Before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was implemented, France already created an education system that facilitates free and equal access for all. Additionally, autism has been recognised as a complex condition that requires a multidisciplinary approach to adequately address. Lastly, three separate plans specifically focused on autism were implemented in order to grant children with autism better access to education.
Predating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Preamble to the French Constitution stated in paragraph 13 that there should be equal access to free, public education and vocational training provided by the state .
Later, Act 75-535 on Social and Medical Institutions introduced the legal concept of a person with disabilities, but no definition was established, which made the concept dependent on certain circumstances .
Act 75-535 on Social and Medical Institutions was modified by Law no. 96-1076 to recognise that autism requires multidisciplinary support because of the varying needs of persons with the condition . It also put the government in charge of submitting a report including information on current care of people with autism as well as the prevalence of autism in children and adults.
The adoption of Law no. 2005-102 introduced a change to the French education system where now the needs, including education, of all people with disabilities need to be met as a form of compensation for the consequences of their disability .
Additionally, France has introduced three autism strategies thus far. The First Autism Plan aimed to increase school attendance of children with autism in mainstream settings as well as increasing teacher training, and the establishment of an Autism Resource Center .
The Second Autism Plan further emphasised teacher training .
The Third Autism Plan, currently in force, puts more emphasis on education than the previous two . This is achieved by the division of the Plan into 5 strands: early detection, lifelong support, family support, research and training and raising awareness for professionals in the field of autism.