Portrait | Education, Entrepreneurship / Innovation

They make the Université de Lyon: meet Sosthène Touitou

On The October 10, 2019

The Université de Lyon met with Sosthène Touitou, a student enrolled in the second year of the Sociology Master’s program (Lyon 2/ENS) and an intern with the Université de Lyon’s Science Shop program.

How did you come to be involved with the Science Shop program?

I majored in political science as an undergraduate, and I soon realized that the classes which I most enjoyed were those focused on sociology. Once I had earned my Diploma, I decided to specialize in sociology, and I am currently enrolled in the second year of my Master’s program.
During the first year of my Master’s degree, I started working on dyslexia. This is the theme I chose for my dissertation; I am also involved with organizations that work in connection with this subject. My dissertation supervisors encouraged me to apply for the internship offered by the Science Shop program in collaboration with AtoutDys, an organization which seeks to improve the general environment for people with Dys* conditions, harnessing a groundbreaking partnership between researchers, families, health professionals and education providers.

Tell us about this internship

The Science Shop program enables research communities and organizations to work together to address major social issues, such as supporting and integrating people with dysphasia, dyspraxia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and dysorthographia. I spent eight months as an intern working with and for AtoutDys, from February to September 2019. The aim was to study the biographical trajectories of dyslexic students aged from 17 to 24 years old. We wanted to identify and gain a better understanding of the limiting and driving factors for individuals with these disorders, from a predominantly medical and academic point of view. The organization took its societal need and translated it into a single research issue, which has enabled us to consider these disorders from a sociological perspective. This encourages us to take another aspect of the people with these disorders and their families’ reality into account, beyond the “simple” medical aspects often highlighted by neuroscience. This includes geographic and social disparities, in terms of access to professionals, the time needed to support Dys children, etc.

What is the added value of this kind of project?

As part of my internship, I helped with the project’s implementation, and was part of an interdisciplinary research project (linguistics, psycholinguistics, speech therapy and sociology) whose Scientific officers are: Audrey Mazur-Palandre (Université de Lyon, LabEx ASLAN and the CNRS ICAR laboratory); and Agnès Witko (LabEx ASLAN and laboratoire DDL).
Throughout my internship, I worked alongside the research community and the AtoutDys organization. The results were produced thanks to discussions with all these different players. The Science Shop program makes it possible to combine in-the-field knowledge and scientific expertise, which is not always easy, and it really is a valuable resource!

What did you gain from this experience?

From an academic perspective, it was an incredible experience for me. I learned a lot about robust research methods and language analysis software. This has fuelled my scientific questioning and my interest in dyslexia. Being involved with all these different players has been a great learning experience. Research communities and organizations do not always have the same constraints or timelines, so some adaptation is required, which made the experience even more rewarding!
And, from a less subjective point of view, I am confident that the results of this study will allow AtoutDys to make significant progress on its ambitious project.

*Dys: people with dysphasia, dyspraxia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and dysorthographia