Teaching computer coding to autistic children and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome

Student Life
ENSTA Bretagne
About twice a month, in a relaxing and fun environment, students at ENSTA Bretagne help youngsters and adults with Asperger’s syndrome learn to code.

The idea came about after the ICST Department at ENSTA Bretagne received Tomy, a young autistic student, on an internship. Philippe Dhaussy, his superviser, is a lecturer at ENSTA Bretagne. He discovered the astonishing capacity of Tomy for informatics and also his behavioral difficulties in society:

After meeting the parents of autists who spoke of the difficulties of their children to integrate, I decided to set up this workshop which is part of a series of workshops on offer to all Brest autists, to help them integrate better socially.

The workshops were thus able to begin in March 2018 and from 5 October, 5 student engineers of ENSTA Bretagne volunteered to take part.

A boost for professional insertion

Apart from the « bubble” of the workshop, the aim was also to enable some to see information technology as a future career (developer, software testing, maintenance of computer systems…).

Vincent, for example, had the opportunity to take part in these workshops. This enabled him to confirm his choice to follow a web developer course in spring 2019.

For the ENSTA Bretagne future engineers, the workshops were also very enriching. The participants learned to pass on their skills, and also work with people who are different, as well as adapt their work methods and behavior. The workshop was especially linked to the Sensibilisation au Handicap (Handicap Awareness) initiative which ENSTA Bretagne students take part in each year.

A lasting mentoring initiative

The workshops will continue during the 2019/2020 academic year. The call for volunteers from among ENSTA Bretagne students will be renewed from September onwards.

As for this year, there will be support for the workshop volunteers:

  • Educators and neuropsychologists from the Génêts d'Or will share their opinions and knowhow in relation to the teaching methods and explain how to take into account the very differing needs of autists.
  • A teacher from the Epsilon organization, specializing in autism. She will also help in the design of the lessons and teaching material suitable for different autistic profiles.
  • Parents of autistic children.
Practical information:
Computer languages taught:
  • Beginners : Scratch language extending to programming an (MBOT) robot
  • Advanced : Python language
  • Creation of Web pages (HTML, Javascript)
Educational support :

In the interest of efficiency, original teaching files are being created. This work is being carried out by ENSTA Bretagne students, with a trainer from the Epsilon association, specialized in teaching methods suited to the autistic thought process, and from the Genêts d’Or SAVS service. The parents give their opinions on this work.


Philippe Dhaussy
Associate Professor
The MOCS team, Lab-STICC laboratory (UMR CNRS 6285)
+33 (0)2 98 34 88 90