Action for Autism
As autism diagnoses continue to rise, Action in Autism is helping highlight the need for more autism awareness and equal access to education, medical resources and support.
Autistic people communicate and behave differently and have different experiences of our shared world.
Seeing the world differently
Autism is a lifelong condition that impacts all areas of communication and social interaction — and can manifest in many different ways — affecting individuals and their loved ones.
Sadly, South Africans living with autism continue to face several obstacles like unemployment, a limited choice of schools, discrimination and a lack of support.
Action in Autism is an advocacy, support and fundraising non-profit organisation for people with autism and their families. The main objective of the organisation is to improve the quality of life for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their caregivers by building partnerships between people with ASD, their families and the community to provide information, counselling and myriad of other services.
“The prevalence of autism is far greater than most of us realise. And as a society we need to raise more awareness and provide the support that people living with autism, and their families, need.” said Pieter Twine, General Manager at MySchool.
Publishing its report in 2020, UCT’s Centre for Autism Research looked at the prevalence of autism in one million school children in the Western Cape. Data showed a reported 76.03% increase in the diagnosis autism spectrum disorder in schools between 2012 and 2016, with an average increase of 15.18% per year.
“There are many challenges facing the autistic community in South Africa. For example, we have few schools that can comprehensively cater for autistic children. The facilities available are completely inadequate for the growing numbers of children diagnosed. Action in Autism’s most important goal is to access education, medical resource and support for all people with autism – to meet the urgent and desperate need for these services in the constituency we serve,” says Kirsten Miller, Director at Auction in Autism.
Early intervention is important
Many experts believe early diagnosis and interventions are more likely to have major long-term positive effects on symptoms and later skills. For this reason, one of Action in Autism’s flagship projects is a unique walk-in resource centre — one of the few in the country — providing critical aid to the autistic community, including:
- Counselling and support services to parents
- Health information booklets
- A database of health care professionals
- A comprehensive list of schools and facilities that cater for learners with autism.
- Access to schooling and social grants for children