The shortage of special schools for children with autism in the Free State is posing challenges to parents and affected learners.
Parents want the government to open schools in the province, specifically for these children.
A mother of a ten-year-old child with autism, is now campaigning to ensure that children with the disorder can receive a proper education. Letlhodilwe Moroe, has been advocating for children with autism to be provided with special schools in the Free State.
Moroe says there are no schools for children with this disorder except private schools, which are too expensive for some of the parents with autistic children. Moroe wants the Department of Education to open special schools in the townships.
“The challenge that we have with autism, is schools… we do not have public schools. We only have a few schools with classes but we do not have an autism school – that is the issue that we are having. Private schools are expensive, they are there but most of the parents can’t even afford it. Some of them would take their kids, they have maybe like one or two years after that they come back and they say I cannot afford the school, is there another school, so you find that we are going to a lot of day care centres,” says Moroe.
The Department of Education’s Howard Ndaba has admitted there are no special schools for children with autism in the province.
“It is true that as a province we don’t have a school that is specific for autism but we have special schools in the province nine of them who have classes that offer or assist autism learners with severe and profound disability, this includes autism – do we have various schools, nine of them they do offer that – but we also have care centre that we call special care centre’s where this kind of support is given.”