Families with children living with autism have called on government to build more schools that cater for children with special needs. This was one of many messages that emerged during a Rainbow Walk for Autism in Durban.

Walking for a purpose mainly to break the stigma attached to autism.

Autism is a mental condition characterised by difficulty in communication and forming relationships.

There are over 130 000 autistic children in the country with less than 15 school tailored for their needs.

A cause close to Nirasha Dhiranam’s heart, her sixteen year old son, Mikhail is living with autism.

It has inspired her to establish Imbalito Hope College – an institution that caters for children living with autism.

Nirasha Dhiranam says:” We need more acceptances in our communities, we need more respect because this is the only way we are going to reach an inclusive society where there’s no more discrimination. Where a family or child with autism can go anywhere and be accepted.”

Raising a child with autism comes with a lot of challenges, as these parents can attest to.

Parent Sipho Sibisi says:” The schools are expensive, I just hope one day the government will intervene because for one child we pay R8000 a month.”

Society is urged to participate in programmes that aim to break the stigma around autism in South Africa with the hope of providing those with the disorder, the best chance for a happy life.

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