First School For Autistic Pupils Launches In Gauteng


Pupils with mental disabilities in Gauteng province now stand a chance to acquire formal education as the education department has launched its first dedicated school for autistic pupils in Gauteng.

The provincial education and social development department have launched the first of 12 specialized schools in the province of Gauteng.

Situated in Orlando West, the public school will cater for children with autism in the area, saving them from the stress of travelling long distances to attend school. Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says the launch of the province’s first dedicated school for autistic pupils in Gauteng shows no child will be prevented from obtaining a formal education. This is a welcome development which will enable every child to be formally educated irrespective of any form of disability.

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Autism is a developmental disability in which those diagnosed with the condition communicate, interact, behave and learn differently from most other people. those that suffer from it are usually slower than the average person when it comes to learning. This is why it is important to teach them in a different environment from the other kids using effective teaching skills and teaching aids to make it easier for them to learn.

The school has been specially customized to suit the needs of learners with autism.
“This includes the colour of classroom paint, colour of chairs, play areas, therapy centre, curriculum and teacher capacity building,” said the provincial Department of Education.

Lesufi says today’s launch of the Thulasizwe School for Autistic pupils in Gauteng has been described as a further step towards ensuring that all children have access to education.

The children at the school will receive specialist treatment and counselling with the necessary infrastructure that caters for their specific needs.

“18 new schools that cater for children with special needs were meant to be opened in January 2016, but only 12 have been opened so far,” said Lesufi.

The education MEC said by next year there won’t be a parent who can afford to say that their child can’t go to a school because they have special needs.

Nine autism schools have been opened in other areas, using premises of schools that had been shut down.

“No parents should say their child has been bewitched when they have autism,” said Lesufi.
“Gauteng has 90 autistic learners, who need to be placed in school. Thulasizwe is already catering for 60 of those learners” Lesufi concluded.

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