If you are a newcomer to Geneva

Arriving in a new country can be complicated when it comes to understanding the local official institutions. ASK has prepared four useful information documents which cover: the School System, the Disability Insurance, the Health System and Access to Medical Care in Switzerland, specifically in Geneva.

The School System

All children from the age of 4 on July 31 of the current school year must be registered at school within 3 days of their arrival in the canton of Geneva. Children or young people with special educational needs or with disabilities, of compulsory education or training age, are enrolled in the ordinary public school that corresponds to their recruitment sector.

In this context, any family arriving from abroad or from another Swiss canton and making the process of enrolling their child in public school, must first contact the school corresponding to their place of residence. home for primary school; at the registration reception service of the DGEO for children from 11 to 15 years old or that of the DGESII for teenagers from 15 to 18 years old.

How will the school support your child?

Is your child starting school or already a pupil at a state school in Geneva? Perhaps your child is experiencing learning and/or developmental difficulties. Or perhaps they need specific support to assist with their education. In Geneva, the school may put specific support in place, and it will evolve over time, depending on the child’s situation. Only children and young people from 4 to 20 years old residing in the canton of Geneva can benefit from special education. In the canton of Geneva, as part of the inclusive school system, the Office Médico-Pédagogique (OMP) organizes and provides special education, in partnership with subsidized private institutions. such as l’Astural or Fondation Ensemble.

The first step is to have an assessment made about your child’s skills, needs, capabilities and aspirations. Start by talking to the professional who knows your child: teaching assistant, class teacher or pediatrician.

They may suggest you consult a specialist with your child, such as a speech therapist, a child psychiatrist or a psychologist. The specialist will give you their assessment about your child’s needs.

If your child needs specific support, you can apply for this through a comprehensive assessment, the “procédure d’évaluation standardisée” (PES).

The PES enables you to access one or more types of special needs provision. There are some steps to follow, all supervised by the Service de la Pédagogie Spécialisée, that grants and finances the services such as speech therapy, psychomotricity, and special early intervention.

May you need help for the procedures or to fill out the forms, please don’t hesitate to contact us! A French-speaking staff member will help you.

Help for parents

French and German speaking support group for families that have lost a child.
Marianne Sulser: 022.310.4028

Information and meetings related to multiple births. Meetings are in French but many members speaks English.
Barbara Moser-Mercer: 022.774.4107
Nyon Twins Association: 022.362.1424

Meet monthly to discuss breastfeeding and related topics.
Margaret Warrick Tel: 022.796.9311 or
Tine Pfenninger: 033.450.20.83.48

Emergency babysitting organised by the Red Cross.
Tel: 022.304.0482 or 022.304.0486 or
E-mail: Babysittingchaperon.rouge@croix-rouge-ge.ch

Whatever you’re going through, Heart2Heart is there for you.

Crisis support in English, anonymous and free of charge.


Tel 0800 143 000

365 days a year, 5 hours a day (6 – 11 pm)


Mesothelioma Hope offers resources to help you support and talk to your child regarding a family member or friend having cancer.

The Arcade sage-femmes in Geneva offers a range of services for expectant or new parents. English services are available.
Tel:  022/329.05.55
85 bd Carl Vogt, Genève

Red Cross (Geneva) offers classes in English for expectant parents in newborn care and development. Course location: 9, route des Acacias, 1201, Geneva, Registration is required. Tel: 022.304.0494 or E-mail: sante.formation@croix-rouge-ge.ch

Moving to a new country away from family and friends is hard. Add a language barrier and you can quickly feel overwhelmed and isolated.

The HUB Geneva helps “connect the dots” so you feel settled more quickly. 

We do this in 3 different ways:

HUB Events – meet others with zero pressure

HUB Blog – read people’s real experiences, not just the gloss, because the challenges are real

Useful Resources – access the online gems we truly rely on to navigate local life

Local Support Groups​, Associations & Foundations

Association Suisse de Parents d’Enfants avec Deficit d’Attention et/ou Hyperactivité

E-mail: aspedah@aspedah.ch

The swiss french association of parents for children with attention deficit and/or hyperactivity disorder. The group offers parents meeting in different parts of Suisse Romande and they welcome all inquiries.

Contact: Marlene Muff-Fleury, phone: 021 703 24 20

Directeur: Eric Métral: sec.gen@astural.ch


This Geneva-based private organization, under ASTURAL and  can assist with assessing child’s development, find doctors and/or therapist. They can also provide psychologists for home-teaching for a few hours. Directeur Eric Métral is bi-lingual.

Autisme Genève

Includes an excellent list of links to other organisations dealing with autism. Based in Geneva and the local antenna of Autisme Suisse-Romande.

OVA ASSOCIATION – is a Swiss & French registered non profit organisation dedicated to teaching children with Autism using ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) and VB (Verbal Behavior). The group provides home based and center based ABA programs/intervention. Supervision is provided by their Board Certified Analysts from Toronto Canada. The group has local Lead therapists (fluent in english + 5 years ABA experience, all psychologists) and a team of 30 Instructor therapists made of University students and young psychologists who wants to specialise in ABA. OVA is also an ABA training center for parents, university students, teachers & professionnals dealing with PDD children.

The group provide regular workshops and seminars.

T el : 022 360 03 49


Geneva contacts: Gihane Mokhtar-Brandt & Tania Shakarchi (French/English/Arabic)

Email: geneve@adsr.ch

Tél: 022 755 37 00

Swiss association of specialist dyslexia tutors in the Suisse Romande area


ESCA CancerSupport is a non-profit association that provides free emotional support (incl. counselling by professional therapists, support groups and workshops), practical help, well-being activities and a welcoming community in English for anyone affected by cancer in Switzerland, with services available both in person and online.

ESCA CancerSupport
Château du Grand-Saconnex
(ground floor)
Chemin Auguste-Vilbert 14
1218 Le Grand-Saconnex

To inquire about support,

please contact the ESCA CS Support Line +41 (0) 22 723 22 31

or Email support@CancerSupport.ch

c/o Famille D.Wäelti

Ch. Du Levrioux 16 – 1263, Crassier

E-mail : cubedeverre@hotmail.com

Tel : 022 367 26 24

Anna Waelti (french only) / Daniel Waelti (english spoken)

The group provide regular workshops and seminars.

T el : 022 360 03 49


A non-profit association supporting families of children with special needs across Switzerland, useful for help with administrative steps and other info related to special needs – www.insieme-ge.ch

E-mail: suzanne fassio <sfassio@sunrise.ch>

Bi-monthly discussion groups for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Led by Suzanne Fassio.

Procap offre différentes prestations aux personnes en situation de handicap et en particulier des conseils en matière d’assurances sociales (p.ex. en matière d’assurance invalidité).

Procap offre des prestations tant aux membres qu’aux non-membres. Toute personne non-membre peut profiter d’un premier conseil gratuit. Procap peut également vous représenter en cas de litige avec une assurance sociale, si certaines conditions sont remplies.

Nous vous conseillons de les contacter rapidement en cas de problèmes ou questions liés aux assurances sociales :

Procap Genève. Office de contact. Rue des Minoteries 3. 1205 Genève. Tél. 022 329 51 50, conseil.geneve@procap.ch


E-mail: wrightf@wanadoo.fr

An organisation that provides help to parents, in particular regarding dietary intervention. Website is in English, French and German. Founder, Francis Wright, is an anglophone.

On 27th March 2004, Scova hosted a very successful International Conference on Autism. Please check Scova website for further information on DVD production of the Conference.

E-mail: info@tourette-romandie.ch

New website for families of children with Tourette’s Syndrome includes and excellent bulletin board.


Non-profit association providing weekend and school holiday activities to children and adults with special needs – www.caploisirs.ch

Non-profit association providing weekend and school holiday activities to children and adults with special needs – www.anyatas.ch

Non-profit association providing sporting and leisure activities to children and adults with special needs – www.handisport-ge.ch

Non profit association providing theatre, art and music activities to adults with special needs- www.autrement-aujourdhui.ch

Non-profit association providing sporting activities (football, swimming, cycling and pétanque) to adults with special needs – www.planetebleue-sports.ch

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