Obstacles for Creating the Project

   Starting in France in the 1980's :
- difficulty in finding a place where to create the project
- parents may oppose therapy for their child in chronic condition
- autistic children may be held in institutions where no therapy is attempted.

Negative experiences in France :

   In the summer of 1981, the founder Filip Marceron being then a young French man stayed a few days as a visitor in a place in southern France where they had several autistic children. Being there briefly he did not try therapy with them but as he wanted to be useful he engaged in some menial works, the children spontaneously joined him to help and soon a relationship was established. That surprised him as he had read in books that autistic children are slow to relate to anybody.
   Even though the works were not appealing (removing burnt debris from a bedroom where there had been a fire, harvesting tomatoes), the children seemed eager to participate, probably for the sake of doing something and as they appreciated the founder's non-directive ways. Also added to the positive side was the wading in the water tank, a walk to the village to get pastries and the founder warming up the milk for breakfast as cocoa would not dilute in cold milk.
   The founder did not realize a serious relationship was there until he left to take the bus at the village : the children wanted to walk along for good-bye
but at the moment of parting the 8 year-old autistic girl did not want to let go of the founder's hand ! She wanted to go with him for staying with him. He explained to her he could not have her because he was still a student and lived in only a small room he rented in Paris, but he promised her he would try have her come when he would have found a place where to help suffering children. Nothing he explained to her would do, she did not want to release her grasp. The founder then realized with shame he would have to use force, and he removed one by one her small fingers from his hand. In her autistic ways, she expressed nothing, shed not a tear, and when she saw she could do nothing to stay with him she went to hide behind a garden shed. The founder felt devastated.
   He realized then all the sufferings and emotional torments autistic children have to endure. That little girl had clung to the founder as if her life was at stake, and it actually was : later the founder could never establish the project  somewhere for lack of money and of help, and anyway the child's mother never permitted that any therapy could be provided to her daughter, going as far as filing a complaint with the police as the founder insisted that her daughter was quite accessible to psychotherapy which could cure her from autism. That little girl grew up into an adult woman but always remained autistic.

   Later, the founder had also the opportunity to know an other 4 year-old autistic girl and this time her mother did not oppose helping her. But it happened that the child was admitted in an institution where they practiced no therapy, the founder then tried to visit her regularly there and provide therapy, but soon the visits were not allowed. The founder then raised the issue with Social Security and health officials that that institution charged heavy costs for having a large number of disabled children while they did not provide therapy : that led that little girl to be transferred to an other place of undisclosed location, so the founder lost track of her and also lost contact with the mother.

Attempt of creating the project in the U.S. :

   After such negative experiences in France and having found no similar project in other European countries nor in the US, the founder turned to the U.S. : he sent a mailing about his project and got a few positive answers by interested officials and nonprofits in NY state, Chicago, Minneapolis, and California. Visiting them there, he found no practical help to start the project somewhere, but the good welcome he got encouraged him to take the time to save enough to be able to buy cash a place and cover all starting costs on his own money, which he was able to do in 2000 in northern NY state.
   The founder got the status of investor in the US with the INS (a foreigner who spends his money to start a business), but the business had to be for profit, which conflicted with the New York state rules that demand that all homes for children must be non-profit.
   The founder then appealed  to try solve the problem, in vain, even though the state of New York and the U.S. as a whole were continually short of foster homes, not to speak of therapeutic ones.
   His status as a foreigner in the US then was not extended, and he felt he could not try to operate his project in the US without a legal status. Very regretfully he sold the beautiful, natural, large and resourceful property he had bought for the project and returned to France, short of any better option as no organization, state nor person answered positively to his calls for help to relocate the project in an other state.

rev. 2014