Hundreds of autistic children left idle in Eastern Cape due to lack of space in schools

Hundreds of autistic children in the Eastern Cape have reportedly been left idle after the Department of Basic Education in the province said that it only had space for 150 learners when there are over 800 autistic children in the province.

Autism SA’s regional development officer in the Eastern Cape, Antoinette Bruce Alexander, says that teaching autistic children is a highly specialised field.

She described the situation as bleak.

“The number of children being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder is on the increase. The services that we have for the children still lags far behind. It has been like that for many years. It’s quite correct that some children have to sit on waiting lists for many years before they are incorporated or absorbed in the education system,” explains Bruce-Alexander.

Below is the full interview:

In April, scores of parents and caregivers with children with autism embarked on a march to the East London city hall in the Eastern Cape to hand over a memorandum of demands.

The march was led by Autism Matters, an East London based non-profit organisation.

Parents said they have been side-lined for years by the provincial government and want the state to prioritise the building of schools that cater for special needs children.

World Autism Month seeks to continuously engage society in understanding and accepting autism.

The NPO also called for more employment opportunities and adult support programmes for autistic people.

The Department of Education in the province accepted the memorandum of demands.

The video below highlights the need to improve quality of life of those with autism:

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